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Aquatic Palms 2/6

The seeds of Ravenea musicalis germinate within the fruit cover even before falling in he water, a strategy used by many mangrove species. The first two leaves are hook shaped and the roots grow both up and down, helping anchor the seedling to the bottom of the flowing river. The next leaves of the Ravenea musicalis seedlings are very flexible so they do not resist the current. The palms remain submerged completely for a number of years until their growth reaches the surface. They eventually grow into majestic trees with swollen trunks and beautiful pinnate foliage (see http://www.plantapalm.com/vpe/photos/Species/ravenea_musicalis.htm   for some photos). The palm grows only in one river and being so rare seeds are not readily available. The seeds having already germinated cannot be stored. At Kew there is a specimen growing in the ponds inside their tropical house and if I'm not mistaken some seedlings were growing in an aquarium at one point in time. Fruit was distributed also to other tropical gardens including in Hawaii so it is also possible to see the palms there.

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