This rare and special water palm, discovered in 1992, is only known from a single river in Madagascar where some 450 have been counted. When the Kew collector climbed one of them to obtain specimens, many fruits fell into the water, making a musical sound. This was why the botanist gave it the scientific name, musicalis.
When the fruits fall in the river, they float, but with the slightest jolt they split open and release the seed, which has already sprouted while still on the tree. The seed sinks and the seedling becomes established and grows on the sandy river bottom. It is one of only very few palms in the world to start its life under water.
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Search Kew's electronic Plant Information Centre for scientific information about Ravenea musicalis