Ravenala madagascariensis





I apologize for including something on this blog that may be of use to someone, as it is not my wont to educate; nevertheless, there are times that such bonhomie, such unstinted desire to share, such generosity of spirit is practically inevitable–the case (and casing) of the ravenala seed being one of those vainglorious examples.

The seed, velvet-black, and almost certainly evil, is covered in a heavenly blue wax, as though having been embalmed by a secret gathering of funereal hands.

By-and-by I will get to the useful information promised, but first we must linger a bit longer in language’s sandbox. When you are ready, we shall begin (unless we are sidetracked by some impromptu exegesis on the part of this blogger, who, some may have noticed, is prone to explaining–at the drop of a clunky cowboy hat–the many iniquities which befoul our peripatetic planet (it puts on a pair of Nikes in the morn and walks around the sun all day, after all)).

So here are the steps to planting your own Ravenala madagascariensis (Travelers Palm).

1) Befriend someone in Madagascar (for obvious reasons). This may require the exchange of intimate photographs, but the internet is a safe and wonderful place.

2) Ask for seeds (among other things).

3) Go to post office and chat with the fluttery-eyed postmistress. Return home when after several hours it becomes apparent that your letterbox is as empty as a banker’s heart.

4) Repeat trips to post office till you either receive an offer of marriage or till your seeds arrive. If the latter, continue to point 5.

5) Store photographs in a safe place. Remove seeds from package. Admire your purchases.

6) Scrape away the blue wax to expose devilish seed.

7) Plant seed in a pot (if you need to be told to add soil you are at the wrong place). Hope for rain.

And that’s it.





The final product:DSC_4968_sm



Below is my grass replacement experiment. I think Truman Capote hated grass too, but this may be simply a projection from my agitated mind. (In case you ask, it’s some moon-white Zephyranthes stolen, if memory serves,  from a Texan in the dreary summer of 2032).



  1. Thank you. I could become a FAN of Ravenala madagascariensis as a result. And I don’t mind it when you get all educational.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am a fount of knowledge, probably sans-serif.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your grass replacement is pretty. I just have weeds where grass used to be but I don’t mind as long as they’re green – and sans serif.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe it wasn’t Truman Capote. I think it might have been Mickey Spillane who didn’t like astro-turf. One thing is certain, Jackie Chan hated dandelions, but I digress.

      J’avais marché depuis le matin sur ce gazon ras, fin et souple comme un tapis, qui pousse au bord de l’abîme sous le vent salé du large (Frank Morrison Spillane, Perjury at Noon, Vol. 6, p770).


      • Thank the good Lord/Google for Google translate. If Mickey Spillane wrote those lines I owe him an apology for decades of disrespect I heaped upon his grass like DDT.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, that may have been le gazon de Guy de Maupassant. Still, as a greenhorn Spillane probably wrote long and engaging essays on the best type of lawn to liquidate someone on.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Astro turf, it sounds as though it should have some galaxy dust within it, maybe the odd Neutron Star. I like grass you can hoover or put in a washing machine. Esme has a coat made of astro turf, hat and shoes to match, mostly for games of hide and seek, but sometimes for skateboarding.

    I absolutely love your description of the velvety seed, and covet one, nay two or three.

    ‘ This may require the exchange of intimate photographs, but the internet is a safe and wonderful place.’ – Hahahahaha. Indeed.

    – Esme peering through her grassy hat (no euphemism for anything filthy) at Prospero

    Liked by 1 person

    • Esme skateboards? in her fineries?

      But just feast your emerald eyes upon this:

      Are you green with envy yet?

      Liked by 1 person

      • She virtually does – *beams and winks*

        Am I green? I’m practically Elphaba I tell you, for that is a peacock tree! You must keep us updated with the growing malarkey progress and all that, and ideally leave the seeds of the one you are growing to Esme in your will. I think that’s only fair.,

        – Esme Cloud – green and firm but fair


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