Orania ravaka

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Orania (oh-rahn-EE-ah)
ravaka (rah-VAH-kah)
Orania ravaka specimen2.jpg
Floribunda Palms, Hawaii. Photo by Paul Craft.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Orania (oh-rahn-EE-ah)
ravaka (rah-VAH-kah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitay
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar, mostly in the eastern part of the island facing the Indian
Antanambe, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Ocean. Varying from lowland up to rather highland tropical rainforest from about 80 up to 550 m above sea level. (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012). Ridge crests on the north coast. Dransfield & Beentje (1995) reported the presence of the species on Île Sainte Marie, an island just off the northeast coast of mainland Madagascar, but no specimen has been collected so far. (A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012)/Palmweb.


Large palm. Trunk about 10 - 20 m tall, grossly swollen at base, about 10 - 20 cm in diam. at breast hight, internodes 2.5 - 5 cm, greyish brown, obscurely ringed with scars, bark pale brown. Leaves 6 - 8 in the crown ? some old individuals with 9 - 13, distichously arranged, densely covered with red-brown tomentum, about 2.5 - 4.5 m long; leaf-sheath about 21.5 - 35 cm long, 8.5 - 11 cm wide, margins disintegrating into fibres, in some individuals rarely, adaxial surface with thin red-brown tomentum, wax present, abaxial surface with dense red-brown tomentum and creamy white indumentum, sometimes with greyish white indumentum; petiole about 30 - 94 cm long, about 1.7 - 2 cm in diam. in the middle, margins disintegrating into fibres; rachis about 198 - 321 cmlong, about 2 cm in diam. in the middle; leaflets elongated lanceolate, regularly arranged leaflets held in one plane, about 33 - 44 on each side of rachis, leaflets about 5.5 - 7 cm distant, in the proximal about 3 cm, about 50 - 74 cm long, 4 - 5 cm wide, adaxial surface glabrous with white substance scattered, thin red-brown tomentum on basal part and midrib, greyish white indumentums on midrib, midrib robust, other ribs thick, abaxial surface with dense white indumentum and thin redbrown tomentum, midrib robust, other ribs thick; ramenta present, mainly on midrib, sparsely on other ribs, red-brown or dark brown, conspicuous, about 1 cm long.


Sunny, moist, but well drained position. slow growing, but requires deep narrow pot to accommodate long tap roots at germination. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: The name ‘ravaka’ is the Malagasy word for ornament, or jewel; this is a particularly elegant tree, rather like O. trispatha, but with a more slender trunk.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

A.P. Keim and J. Dransfield. 2012. A monograph of the genus Orania (Arecaceae: Oranieae).

J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995. 1995. The Palms of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The International Palm Society.

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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