They are small to large palms, with solitary, robust grey stems, swollen at base and gradually tapering upward. The species vary greatly in size, with R. hildebrandtii and R. nana only reaching 4 m, while R. robustior and R. sambiranensis both reach 30 m. The leaves are up to 2–5 m long, pinnately compound, reduplicate, erect at first then arching, twisted near the apex; with numerous crowded narrow ribbed leaflets. The inflorescence is short, borne among the leaves; the fruit is a red drupe.
Several of the species are endangered, R. moorei critically so, with only two specimens known, these last seen in 1993 (IUCN report). R. louvelii is little better off, with fewer than 25 plants known (IUCN report).
Cultivation and uses
Ravenea rivularis (Majesty Palm) is widely cultivated in subtropical regions. It is an adaptable palm that looks somewhat similar to the ever-popular Queen palm. It is a very large palm with a large, untidy crown. It has symmetrical leaves and develops an attractive swollen base of the trunk. Majesty palm prefer full sun and plenty of water to ensure rapid growth. It is tolerant of different soil types. Propagation is by seeds, which germinate in 2–3 months.
Majesty Palm as houseplant
Despite being sold often as a houseplant, usually at a very low price, Majesty palms do not make good indoor plants. However, one may consider using an indoor humidifier and plant lamp/window which they will tolerate, provided they have a few months of hot outdoor weather. They prefer bright indoor light, but prefer shaded when outdoors.[better source needed]
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- Pland-care, Daily Professional Plant Tips You Can Use - Majesty Palm - Is it a House Plant or Indoor Palm?