Ravenea madagascariensis

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Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah) madagascariensis
Madagascar. Photo by Justin.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
Species: madagascariensis
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Anivo, Anivokely, Anivona (general); Tovovoko (Ifanadiana).

Habitat and Distribution

Central and East Madagascar: Manerinerina and Andasibe to Kalambatitra and Midongy. Occurs within the following protected areas: Marojejy, Zahamena, Ambohitantely, Mantadia, Analamazaotra, Ranomafana, Andringitra, Ivohibe and Midongy Atsimo.
Madagascar. Photo by Dr. Mijoro Rakotoarinivo/Kew.
Grows in moist to rather dry hill forest, on steep slopes or hill crests, occasionally on steep slopes in riverine forest; occurs from 50 to 1,700 m. This palm characterizes montane forest in Madagascar but has also been collected at least once in the coastal region.


An elegant medium sized palm, with leaves erect in a shuttlecock formation, or slightly arching.

Graceful palm. TRUNK 5-12 m. high, 16-22 cm in diam., near crown 8-15 cm in diam.; wood hard, with black fibrous layer just below the bark; base of trunk often thickened, the boss 10-60 cm high and 38-40 cm across, often with surface roots; trunk occasionally with remaining sheath bases in distal part; internodes 3.5-14 cm, brown or grey; nodal scars about 2.5 cm; base of crown bulbous, 22-28 cm across. LEAVES 10-26 in the crown, sometimes with a few marcescent leaves; leaves porrect, straight in "shuttlecock" mode or less often slightly arching, often with the distal part held on edge; sheath 30-104 cm, the base 15-40 cm wide, dull brown with whitish brown to grey-brown tomentum, glabrescent, with fibrous edges, the fibres reflexed; petiole 20-80 cm, proximally 4.5-7 x 2-3.5 cm across, distally 3-4.5 x 1.5-2.5 cm across, adaxially channelled with sharp edges, with the same tomentum as the sheath, glabrescent; rachis 1.9-3 m, in mid-leaf 1.5-2.5 x 1.2-2 cm, keeled in the distal half, when young with whitish tomentum over green, but soon glabrescent; leaflets pale or rich green, occasionally slightly waxy, in one plane or at an angle of up to 140° with the leaflets on the other side of the rachis, 55-82 on each side of the rachis, the proximal 31-90 x 0.3-3.5 cm, the median 54-95 x 2.2-5.2 cm (interval 1.2-2.3 cm), the distal 11-40 x 0.3-3.5 cm, often with the terminal pair partly joined, main veins 4-6, ramenta red- brown, large, abundant along the midrib abaxially but quickly caducous leaving few on the basal part, occasionally with some on the smaller veins, margins often uprolled. STAMINATE INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, multiple in 4s-9s, the innermost opening, the outermost often remaining in bud stage until abscising; individual inflorescences branching to 2 orders; peduncle 40-119 cm, proximally 6-10 mm across, distally the same or slightly thinner, green, proximally with a dense grey-brown tomentum thinning out towards the distal end, but glabrescent; common prophyll 18-23 x 8.5 cm, tattering; peduncular bracts 26-33 cm, 53-57 cm, 120-158 cm (inserted at about 30 cm from the base of the peduncle), 131-162 cm (inserted at about 40 cm), densely pubescent abaxially, adaxially smooth, glabrous, red-brown; non-tubular peduncular bract 11-13.5 x 0.7-0.8 cm; rachis 37-63 cm, proximally tomentose but quickly glabrescent, with (16) 30-46 branched first order branches and 0-36 unbranched ones, all branches porrect; proximal rachis bracts 1-8 x 0.4-0.8 cm; first order branches glabrous, cream or green, with 1-3 rachillae, at the base 3-6 x 2-4 mm; rachillae 3.5-20 cm, 1 mm across, sinuous in the distal part.


Lightly shaded/full sun, moist, but well drained. 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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