Facts

  • Raffia palms have remarkably large leaves, with the largest belonging to Raphia regalis, reaching a vast 25m long.
  • The leaves are supported by trunks that are relatively short in comparison.

Where it grows

Although raffia is native to Madagascar, it now grows throughout tropical Africa.

Common uses

The fibre extracted from raffia is used to make textiles, mats, baskets and hats, and also to make a type of strong string used in gardening and flower farming. While its leaf stalks (petioles) are used to build houses and make furniture, its vast leaves are used as roofing. A wax is extracted from the leaves to make floor and shoe polish. The sap is used to make an alcoholic wine.

Useful links