Ravenea sambiranensis

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Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
RsDSC 0019.JPG
Photo by Christophe Jardinier.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Anivo; Anivona; Mafahely (general); Soindro (Tsimihety); Ramangaisina (Betsimisaraka).

Habitat and Distribution

North West, West and East Madagascar, Manongarivo to Marojejy and down the East coast to Vangaindrano;
outlier in Bemaraha area. Littoral forest on white sand, dense moist forest or dry montane forests, steep slopes, hill crests or on almost level ground; in the West in remnant riverine forest; 1-2000 m. POLLINATION AND DISPERSAL. Flowers visited by bees and small flying beetles (pers. obs.); fruit eaten by Madagascar Blue Pigeon, and defecated seeds germinating well (as did seed from fallen fruit)


Slender tall palm. TRUNK 2-30 m. high, 5-29 cm. in diam. (near crown 5-10 cm); basal boss 25-40 cm high, 32-50 cm across, with surface roots; internodes 2-13 (-18) cm (near crown 1-4 cm), nodal scars faint or clear, 2-4 cm; rarely with; sheath remnants present below the living crown; bark soft, pale grey or brown; outer wood with very hard black fibres; heartwood soft, white. Base of crown bulbous, 18-40 cm across. LEAVES 10-28 in the crown, porrect, arching to strongly arching; sheath 12-70 x 10-20 cm, whitish or brown-tomentose externally, in young leaves entire and fibrous, rupturing opposite the petiole when ageing and then the margins with hard fibres; petiole 13.5-76 cm, proximally 1.3-7 x 0.6-4 cm across, convex and white- or brown-grey-pubescent abaxially, slightly convex, flat or concave with sharp edges adaxially, distally 0.9-3 x 0.5-1.6 cm, glabrescent, dull green; rachis 0.6-2.5 m long, in mid-leaf 1.2-3.4 x 1-1.7 cm across, convex and white- to red- or grey-brown-tomentose to puberulous abaxially, glabrescent, adaxially in the proximal part with a channelled keel, more distally with a flattened keel 4-5.5 mm wide, more distal becoming angular and sharp; leaflets rigid, lanceolate, oblique, straight, acute, sometimes pendulous in their distal 1/3 (rarely in one plane), dark green, arcuate, the tips somewhat bent over, 35-67 on each side of the rachis, the proximal 20-78 x 0.2-3.3 cm, median 40-100 x 1.3-4 cm (interval 3.5-5 cm), distal 6-63 x 0.3-2.7 cm, the top pair sometimes connate for up to 2 cm, abaxially on the midrib (and sometimes on the veins) with rather many small ramenta in young leaves-none, or only basal ones in older leaves, main veins 2-7. STAMINATE INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, multiple in 5s-9s, the central ones maturing before the outer ones, erect; individual inflorescences 30-117 cm, branched to 1 or 2 orders; common prophyll membranous, 2.5-23 x 5-12 cm, rounded, tattering, densely tomentose abaxially, glabrous adaxially; peduncle 25-74 cm, 5-9 mm across proximally, distally 3-7 mm across, green, grey-brown tomentose to glabrescent; peduncular bracts respectively 7-35 x 3.2 cm (inserted at 0-0.4 cm from the base of the peduncle), 20-60 x 2-2.2 cm (inserted at 1-2 cm), 56-125 (inserted at about 3 cm), 68-125 x 5.3 cm (inserted at about 7 cm), all white- to grey-brown-tomentose abaxially, adaxially cream, smooth and glabrous; non-tubular peduncular bract 1.5-3.7 x 0.4-0.6 cm, but in Beentje 4501 a non-tubular peduncular bract inserted at 53 cm, 25 x 1.7 cm, membranous, adnate to the peduncle for 21 cm; rachis 20-54 cm, cream, densely pubescent proximally but glabrescent or with flaking patches, with 12-65 branched and 7-38 non-branched first order branches; proximal rachis bract 1.3-20 x 0.6 cm; first order branches at base 3-4 x 2 mm, with 3-6 rachillae; rachillae porrect, 3-23 cm, 1-1.5 mm across, sinuous, cream, with dense flowers above a 2 cm bare base; pedicels 0-1 mm; bracteole 0.7-1.8 x 0.5-0.8 mm, narrowly triangular, acute.


Slow growing. Cold Hardiness: USDA zones: 9b

Comments and Curiosities

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).

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

Rakotoarinivo, M. & Dransfield, J. 2012.

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

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