Raphia gaertneri G.Mann & H.Wendl.
Raphia gracilis Becc.
Sagus palma-pinus Gaertn.
Raphia palma-pinus is an evergreen palm. It is often heavily harvested for its leaves, but when not cut too destructively it can produce a stem 2 - 3 metres or more tall. The stem is topped by a rosette of more or less erect leaves that can each be up to 9 metres long[
]. The plant suckers at the base, forming thickets of some size and density[
The tree is widely harvested as a commercial source of piassava fibre, and also as a source of materials for its wide range of local uses.
The species is widespread in western Africa however, it is widely exploited and its habitat is also threatened by many activities, including loss of wetlands for crop farming and drought. The level of harvesting is increasing and the population is believed to be decreasing (at an unknown rate). More information is needed on the population decline and impacts of threats before the species can be fully assessed, it may be Near Threatened or Least Concern. The plant is classified as 'Data Deficient' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
West tropical Africa - Senegal to Gambia, Cameroon, Congo, northern Angola.
Wet swamps, either fresh or slightly brackish, near the coast. Often behind mangrove swamps[
]. Lowland swamp and riparian palm, often associated with shady conditions and extremely high rain fall[
|Conservation Status||Data Deficient
|Other Uses Rating||
A monocarpic plant - growing for several years without flowering, then producing a massive inflorescence and dying after setting seed[
The frond and petiole are used as a medicine to treat blood disorders[
The plant is a commercial source of piassava, the base of the petiole for a length of 100cm being retted and split to form hard fibres[
The mid-ribs of the leaves are used to make poles and are made into household furnishings such as chairs and beds[
The fronds are used extensively as thatch[
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