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Raphia farinifera

Pronunciation: Raf-ee-uh far-ih-nif-er-uh
Family: Arecaceae
Common Name: Raphia palm
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 80 ft
Width to: 70 ft
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
  • 60 to 50ºF ZONE 12
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
Bloom Season:
  • early summer
  • mid summer
  • late summer
Bloom Description: Raphia palm (raphia farinifera) bear green blooms, grown in panicles up to 10 ft long; followed by scaly orange fruit
Soil Type: Under glass, grow in soiless potting mix in bright filtered light. Outdoors grow in moist, moderately fertile, humus-rich soil
Plant Perks:
  • Edible
  • Medicinal
Pests and Diseases: Spidermites may be a problem under glass
Propagation: Sow raphia palm (raphia farinifera) seed at 81 degrees f in spring
Native to: Tropical africa , madagascar
Winter Sowing Zones: None
Notes for Identification: Raphia palm (raphia farinifera) is a large, spreading palm with a sturdy trunk covered in old leaf bases. Fibres from young leaves used for a variety of crafts, including hat-making, fibre-weaving for clothing and basketry; petioles used in hut construction; fruits and hearts edible. Raffia fibre obtained from the upper surface of young leaflets is used worldwide as tying material for horticulture and handicrafts. In tropical africa it is locally used for tying and for making a wide range of products, including mats, baskets, hats, wallets, shoes, bags, fishing nets, hammocks, curtains and textiles. The leaves are used for thatching, and the leaflets for plaiting. In madagascar the midveins of the leaflets are used for making fishing nets and a range of articles for domestic use. The petiole and rachis are used for furniture, house construction, fences and ladders, and as poles. The rachis is locally made into sweeping-brushes. In madagascar the dry petiole is cut into pieces of 40 cm long, which are used as floats for fishing nets. In uganda strips from the petiole are used for basket weaving. The stems of the palm are a source of starch. The young terminal bud (palm cabbage) is eaten as a vegetable. The palm is tapped for sap to be fermented into palm wine. The wine is also distilled into a strong alcoholic liquor and can also be used as bakers yeast. The fruit and seeds are eaten, and the fruit pulp is fermented into an alcoholic drink. Oil from the mesocarp and seed is used as food (raphia butter) and for the production of soap and stearin. The shells of the fruits are made into snuffboxes or buttons, and the fruits and seeds are used for decoration. A wax obtained from the lower surface of the leaflets has been used for floor and shoe polishes and for making candles. Raphia farinifera is planted as a wayside and ornamental tree. In madagascar the root is used against toothache, fibres from the leaf sheath are used for the treatment of digestive disorders, and a liquor obtained from the inflorescence is a drink as well as a laxative. In mauritius a decoction of the fruit pulp is used against dysentery, and an infusion of the fruit is said to attenuate haemorrhages. (prota), edric. Source: the american hort society a-z encyclopedia of garden plants and palm pedia
USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 0
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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