On the island of Madagascar, there is a tree of amazing beauty and properties - the Madagascar Ravenala. Translated from the Malgash language, it means "leaf of the forest". This plant is often called "fan-tree", "well-tree" and also "traveler's tree".
Ravenala - the tree of the traveler
Ravenala is a plant of the strelitziaceae family. Banana is considered to be its distant relative. However, unlike it, the ravale has a trunk, sometimes reaching a height of 10 m. Large leaves grow directly from the trunk and are arranged in a fan-like manner. Due to this, the crown of the ravals is often compared to the fan or tail of a peacock.
Water accumulates in the stems and leaves of the plant, which are rolled up in tubes. On average, one tree can contain up to 25 liters. It is believed that it is because of this property that the plant was nicknamed "the tree of the traveler." A tired traveler can always quench his thirst with the help of Ravenala. If you make a small incision in the stem, water will flow out of the hole like from a tap. Indeed, sometimes moisture from wood is used for drinking. However, it is recommended to do this in extreme cases. The fact is that insects, their larvae and even small animals get into this water. One can only guess what microbes and bacteria are in such moisture.
Another feature of the ravale, which helps travelers on the road, is that its crown grows strictly from west to east. This allows tourists to navigate the terrain, determine the cardinal points and not go astray.
The plant is widely used by the inhabitants of Madagascar. They use the trunk and leaves as building material and roofing of houses. Dry trees serve as fuel. Plates, cutlery, tablecloths are also made from ravnala. And the trunks are adapted for vessels for water. Young leaves and fruits of the plant are used for food. Ravenala leaves are believed to be rich in calcium oxalate and silica. In terms of their beneficial properties, they can be compared with sorrel and spinach.
Ravenala as a houseplant
Ravenala is the national symbol of the island of Madagascar. It is also considered one of the most beautiful trees on the planet. Thanks to this, the ravinal can often be found in greenhouses, conservatories and in home collections of amateur flower growers. The plant is unpretentious, easily propagated by seeds.
If you decide to plant such an exotic tree at home, soak the seeds in warm water for a couple of days. And then lower it into the prepared soil no more than 2 cm deep. The soil should consist of sand, peat and leafy soil. Ravenala is a thermophilic plant, therefore the temperature in the room should be at least 25 ° C. Seedlings will appear in about 3 months.
Ravenala loves light, so keep the plant on the sunny side. It is recommended to replant the tree annually, and when it reaches a large size, regularly change the topsoil, and also feed it with fertilizers for palm trees. With proper care and feeding, ravalla will delight you all year round not only with its exotic look, but also with beautiful flowers.