ravenala

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n ravenala giant treelike plant having edible nuts and leafstalks that yield a refreshing drink of clear watery sap; reputedly an emergency source of water for travelers
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Ravenala (Bot) A genus of plants related to the banana.Ravenala Madagascariensis, the principal species, is an unbranched tree with immense oarlike leaves growing alternately from two sides of the stem. The sheathing bases of the leafstalks collect and retain rain water, which flows freely when they are pierced with a knife, whence the plant is called traveler's tree.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n ravenala A genus of monocotyledonous plants, of the order Musaceæ, the banana family. It is characterized by a loculicidally three-valved and three-celled capsule with numerous seeds in six rows, and by separate long and narrow sepals and petals, three of each, all similar and unappendaged. There are but 2 species, natives one of Madagascar, the other of northern Brazil and Guiana. In both the stem is sometimes short, with the leaves almost all radical, at other times forming a tall woody trunk reaching 30 feet high, ringed by leaf-scars. The handsome oblong and two-ranked leaves resemble those of the banana, and are of immense size, being considered the largest undivided leaves known, with the exception perhaps of the Victoria lily. The long concave leafstalks are divided within into small cubical chambers, about a half-inch square, filled with a clear watery sap which forms a refreshing drink, whence the name traveler's-tree, used in botanic gardens for R. Madagascariensis. The leaves are also used as a thatch for the native huts. The large flowers form a short many-flowered raceme within the spathe, and are followed by woody capsules and edible seeds with a lacerate and pulpy blue aril which yields an essential oil. See traveler's-tree.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Malagasy