Sunday, July 07, 2013
In Madagascar, there is a native "tree", that kind of looks like a relative of the banana plant. So I'm not sure it would be technically classified as a tree, but it is very important to Madagascar. In fact it is so important that it is the logo for Air Madagascar:
(I'm not copying the logo because it might disturb someone's trademark or something, so you'll have to follow the link to see. For those who do, it is quite a striking logo, don't you think?)
I really don't know what sort of flowers or fruit this plant has, as that isn't the important part. What they use are the leaves, to thatch the roofs of houses, and the stalks to the leaves, to use as house siding. I have a picture of one of the cottages we stayed in that was at least on the outside thatched with leaves from the traveler's tree:
I didn't take any pictures of the small houses built with the traveler's tree walls, because I didn't want to invade anyone's privacy, but I'm sure I can find a link.
That picture also shows the practice of building the houses off the ground. There are two reasons for that. One is the Monsoons, reasoning being pretty self-evident, and the other is the heat. It was explained to me that having the house off the ground allowed air to come up through the floor to add extra cooling to the house.
Though I said that I didn't know anything about the fruit of the traveler's tree, I do know one other thing about its usefulness for travelers. when you cut off the top, the trunk is full of water for the thirsty traveler. (Then you go build your shelter with the top.)