Ravenea glauca

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Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
glauca (GLAH-kah)
Rav gla hab.jpg
Habitat, Madagascar.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
Species:
glauca (GLAH-kah)
Synonyms
None set.
Native Continent
Africa
Africa.gif
Morphology
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Height: 30ft/9m +
Trunk diameter: 6in/15cm
Culture
Sun exposure: Full sun
Watering: Wet/dry periods
Survivability index
Common names
Mini-Majesty, Anivo; Sihara (Bara).

Habitat and Distribution

Central-South Madagascar: west side of Andringitra Mts and Isalo. Dry forest and in
Habitat - says it all. Madagascar.
ravines and rocky or sandy gullies; altitude 670-1250 (?1800) m.

Ravenea glauca is endemic to seasonally dry forest and extremely deep ravines and canyons in south central Madagascar at elevations from 2200 to 4000 ft.

Description

Some have adopted a common name of "Mini-Majesty" thinking this species is a smaller version of Ravenea rivularis. However, the two have little in common, with the former possessing a much more delicate appearance and much slimmer trunk. Neither does R. glauca share its "big brother's" affinity for water. The "glauca" in the binomial refers to the glaucous blue appearance of the new growth and the coloring these sometimes retain when grown in a hot, dry location. As can be seen from the photos, this species can attain heights more than the 15-26 ft that most references claim, on a slender 3-4 inch trunk (6-8 inch in cultivation). They can hold as many as 18-20 graceful 4-6 ft long leaves on 3-6 inch petioles. Editing by edric.

Culture

Truly R. glauca is one of the most promising palms for cultivation Madagascar has to offer. Tolerant of soil, exposure, and water needs, Ravenea glauca is proving itself in a wide range of growing conditions while reliable as a gorgeous mid-sized palm. Perhaps this is due to its natural conditions growing in deeply shaded, yet still hot deep canyons, sometimes very wet and sometimes very dry, and when tall enough, exposed to scorching sun. Few palms are as forgiving and as beautiful at the same time. Because R. glauca, like all Raveneas, is dioecious, growers would do well to assure this palm sets viable seed in cultivation by planting groups separated from other Raveneas. These palms are considered endangered in habitat.

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Comments and Curiosities

This is a dioecious genus.

Conservation: Vulnerable. We are uncertain about the status of populations in the Andringitra; no plants of this species have been collected there since 1922. Elsewhere this species is only known from the Isalo, where population size is probably a few hundred.

Uses: Not eaten, since the heart is bitter.

The most curious thing about this palm has already been alluded to above. It not only tolerates such a wide range of conditions and outright abuse, it is remarkably bug and pathogen resistent. And does it all while still looking pampered.


External Links

References

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).

Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 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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