Featured Plant

Traveller's Palm

While the cold, long winter takes hold in Winnipeg, escape to the tropical, warm environment in Toucan Ridge at the Zoo where you’ll be greeted by an array of plants and animals that will transport you to warmer climates. One of the most impressive plants in Toucan Ridge is ravenala madagascariensis, or more commonly known as the traveller’s tree or traveller’s palm. This large plant bears a trunk that resembles that of a palm tree, and is topped with fan-shaped deep green leaves.

Although this plant is commonly known as a palm, it is not part of the palm family, but rather the bird-of-paradise Strelitziaceae family. The traveller’s palm is native to moist forests in Madagascar where it can grow 30 – 50 feet tall. Each banana-like leaf blade can grow 5 – 10 feet long by 2 – 3 feet wide at the end of a thick, grooved leaf stalk. White flowers bloom in the summer and are followed by brown, woody capsules containing edible seeds covered by bright blue arils.

Rain water collects in the cupped base of each leaf stalk, which gives this plant its common name, as travellers in an emergency could drink the water.

Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden | Eden Project

travellers palm