Ravenea xerophila

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Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
xerophila (zehr-oh-FILL-ah)
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Madagascar. Photo by ally
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ravenea (rah-vehn-EH-ah)
xerophila (zehr-oh-FILL-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Ahaza, Anivo (Mahafaly); Anivona (Antandroy). Anivona Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to South Madagascar, between Ampanihy and the Ampingaratra Mts.
Madagascar. Photo by ally
Occurs in dry spiny Didiereaceae/Euphorbia bush or dry low forest, on laterite or gneiss. May grow in groups. Recorded at low elevations from 100 up to 700 m.


Solitary medium-sized palm. TRUNK 1.5-8 m high, 13-30 cm in diam., widened at the very base; distal half of trunk (or in smaller trees the entire trunk) covered in densely packed sheath remnants; near crown about 10 cm in diam.; bark brown; internodes 2.5-8 cm; nodal scars 0.5-1 cm, occasionally with tattered sheath remnants appearing as threads; wood hard; trunk sometimes producing a yellow latex-like substance when slashed. LEAVES (11-) 18-22 per crown, glaucous, gracefully arching, with stiff segments, the old leaves marcescent; sheath 36-55 x 13-20 cm, white- to dark brown tomentose, the tomentum quickly deciduous, the distal part waxy-white; petiole 22-60 cm long, proximally 2.8-6 x 2.0-3.5 cm, distally 1.4-3.0 x 1.4-2 cm, slightly channelled adaxially, with rather sharp edges, proximally red-brown tomentose, distally glabrous and yellow or with whitish bloom when dry, abaxially strongly convex; rachis 1-2.1 m long, in mid-leaf 0.9-2 x 0.8-1.6 cm, pale green with white bloom; leaflets pale green, stiff, coriaceous, the leaflets on opposite sides of the rachis at an angle of less than 90° with each other, slightly glaucous, acuminate, 47-55 on each side of the rachis, regular, coriaceous, glaucous, the proximal ones 33-110 x 0.3-1.5 cm, median 43-64 (94) x 1.3-2.4 cm (interval 3.5-4 cm), distal 11-44 x 0.3-1.3 cm, secondary veins very visible, tertiary veins indistinct, ramenta red-brown or grey, elongate, 1-2 (-3) near the base of lower leaflets, to large patches of dense ramenta in the proximal third of the midrib, upper 12 pairs without ramenta.


Full sun, and very well drained. Does seem to be able to take quite a lot of water, as long as the drainage is good. Quite a slow grower.

This plant develops a very vigorous root system of fleshy white roots, wher it stores up water for dry times.

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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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