Fam. Pl. 2: 67 (1763), Lane, Mitt. Bot. Staatssamml. Münch. 13: 114-131 (1955), rev.
Ravenala madagascariensis is the only species in the genus. Found at elevations below 1000 m in eastern Madagascar, the plant is a tall, single-stemmed or suckering tree with a palm-like trunk that holds large bananalike leaves high in the forest canopy to heights of 30 m. It occurs in both primary rain forest and open secondary growth. Flowers are borne in large, bracteates inflorescences up to 85 cm in height which are situated below the crown of the bananalike leaves in the axils of the leaf bases. The inflorescence includes 5 to 15 strong, congested, protective bracts enclosing 10 to 16 flowers each. Flowers average about 19 cm in length and have an inferior ovary, perianth tube, three yellowish white sepals fused at their base. Arils are bright blue. (Kress, W. J., G.E. Schatz, M. Andrianifahanana, and H.S. Morland. Pollination of Ravenala madagascariensis (Strelitziaceae) by lemurs: evidence for an archaic coevolutionary system? Amer. J. Bot. 81: 542-551. 1994).
Its one species, R. madagascariensis Sonn., is endemic to Madagascar.
Only one species, R. madagascariensis Sonn.
Common Names, Uses and Notes:
R. madagascariensis Sonn. is widely cultivated in the tropics as an ornamental.
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