Raphia farinifera

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Figure 2. Mature R. farinifera and the people who live under them.


Common Names:

Rafia Palm

Distribution & Habitat:

The edges of rivers and lakes in Madagascar and East Africa.


A very spectacular palm, with a trunk to about 10 m. The leaves up to 20 m long, (amongst the largest in the plant kingdom), point almost upright. The stems are monocarpic, (see flowering farinifera).


These palms are the source of raffia fibre, which is made from the leaf bases.


These palms like very wet feet, and a tropical or sub-tropical climate. They are best suited to parks or large gardens, because of their very large size.

Figure 1. R. farinifera in habitat
Figure 3. R. farinifera
Figure 4. R. farinifera fruits.

Contributed by:

Jeff Nugent,
Permaculture Plants (Figure 1,2,3&4)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk