Ravenea albicans

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Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
albicans (AL-bih-kanz)
Antanambe, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
albicans (AL-bih-kanz)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Hoza-tsiketra (Betsimisaraka). White Majesty Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Ravenea albicans is endemic to Northeast Madagascar; the protologue says common between
Makira - Madagascar (2016) - East Coast of Madagascar. Photo by "Olivier Reilhes"
Fenerive (Fenoarivo) and Antalaha, but does not cite any specimens for this distribution. The palm is certainly not common nowadays. Moist forest at 100-400 m alt.; steep mid slope on ultramafic soil.


Slender solitary undergrowth palm; trunk 3-6 m high, up to 11 cm in diam. at breast height, covered in marcescent, litter-trapping sheath bases. Leaves, about 8 in the crown, porrect, 3-4 m long; sheath about 72 cm, with brown-velvety tomentum over green; petiole 0-34 cm, proximally about 5 x 4 cm across, distally 3.7 x 3.3 cm across, canaliculate; rachis about 3 .7 m long, in midleaf 2-2.2 cm wide with 8 mm wide keel, with transverse ('zebra') striping especially abaxially; leaflets stiff, in one plane, 45-47 on each side of the rachis, the proximal 62-65 x 2.2-2.5 cm, median 75-83 x 6.6-7.2 cm (the protologue gives 50-60 x 2-2.5, but in the type the apices are broken off and the leaflets are folded) (interval 4.5-5 cm), distal 20-25 x 0.8- 1.5 cm; abaxially with continuous white tomentum. Staminate inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, branching to 1 order, hardly exserted, mostly hidden among sheaths and leaf remnants; peduncle distally 12 x 6 mm, dense white-puberulous; with 3(-4?) bracts, the first being destroyed at anthesis, the ones seen 25 cm, 30 cm, 32-35 cm; rachillae 5-8 cm long, 2.5 mm across; calyx reduced to 3 small triangular teeth < 2 mm; petals elongated, triangular and acuminate, 5.5-6.5 mm, free or hardly connate at the base; episepalous stamens with large filament, appearing free among the spread petals; epipetalous stamens with filament connate to inner side of petals, the anthers therefore appearing sessile. Pistillate inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, erect, 126-150 cm, branched to 1 order; peduncle 94-120 cm, proximally 2.5-3.4 x 1.2-1.7 cm across, distally 1.5 x 0.8 cm; prophyll c. 18 x 7.5 cm; peduncular bracts seen 27 cm, 34 cm, 46 cm; rachis 8-12 cm; rachillae 8-13 in number, 17-29 cm long; pedicels 1- 2 mm; flowers unknown. Fruit unknown. Eophyll bifid, with the characteristic white abaxial surface of the leaflets. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

We believe that this species only flowers and fruits at intervals, i.e. not every year, since all the trees we checked in Mananara Biosphere Reserve over a period of two years were sterile, with only ancient inflorescences. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Warm, sheltered, and moist. Likes a very light, open mix and heavy shade. Very slow growing. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

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).

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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