Traveller's Palm

Traveller's Palm
Traveller's Palm Traveller's Palm Traveller's Palm
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Despite being commonly called the Traveller’s Palm, it is in fact not a palm but a relation of the Bird of Paradise family (Strelitziaceae). So called the ‘Traveller’s Palm’ due its ability to hold rainwater in its stems and thus used by thirst quenched travellers. Alternative it can be used as a crude compass as the fan tends to grow in a north – south line. Its blue seeds are also used as a food source whilst the sap provides sugar. Other uses: wood for constructions and leaves for thatching. A pretty useful ‘palm’!

Latin: Ravenala Madagascariensis

Despite being commonly called the Traveller’s Palm, it is in fact not a palm but a relation of the Bird of Paradise family (Strelitziaceae).

So called the ‘Traveller’s Palm’ due its ability to hold rainwater in its stems and thus used by thirst quenched travellers.  However, I would not recommend the liquid unless in dire strait, it is said to be smelly and murky.  (Ideally the liquid should be purified, prior to consuming).  Alternative it can be used as a crude compass as the fan tends to grow in a north – south line, another useful tool for the traveller.  Its blue seeds are also used as a food source whilst the sap provides sugar. Other uses: wood for constructions and leaves for thatching.  A pretty useful ‘palm’!

Like the Bird of Paradise, it produces its distinctively shaped flower but without the colouring.  The bracts remain green.  The leaves resemble those of the banana.

After flowering, the plant will produce brown fruits in which are the bright blue seeds.  The blue covering is crayon-like in texture.

If growing in a pot, ideally use a heavy terracotta container as the leaf stalks collects water thus making them heavy and could topple lighter containers.

Seed Packet: Contains 10 seeds

Growing Instructions:

Sowing:

Remove the blue seed coating and soak in warm water for 24 hours.  Ideally plant in a mix of 50% compost & 50% sand.  A propagator or heated mat is best to maintain the temperature required for germination. Requires light.  Maintain moisture, but do not overwater.   To create humidity, cover the pot with glass/clear plastic.

Germination:

Minimum germination temperature: 25 - 30°C

Keep humid

Germination can take from 3 – 6 months

Soil:

Once established plants the plant will tolerate most soils, but prefers rich, moist soils with good drainage.

Position:

Young plants should be kept in the shade to prevent leaves scorching.  More mature plants can be positioned in full sun, partial shade area. The theory is plant in bright sun for more flowers, shade for improved foliage. Shelter from strong winds.

Maintenance:

The Ideal temperatures of 16 - 24°C.  Protect if temperature drops below 0°C.  Leaves will show signs of frost-burn at temperatures of -2°C and die at -3°C.

Average watering needs.  Water regularly during the warm seasons and less in winter

Like the Strelitziaceae, will benefit from a feed of fertilizer.

Additional Information:

The Traveller's Palm has very deep roots in folklore and tradition. It is a saying: "If a traveller stands directly in front of a Traveller's Palm and makes a wish in good spirit, that wish will definitely come true."

 

 

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