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Useful Tropical Plants

Raphia sudanica

A.Chev.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Raphia bandamensis A.Chev.

Raphia heberostris Becc.

Raphia humilis A.Chev.

Common Name:

Raphia sudanica
Fruits
Photograph by: John Dransfield
Image credit to Palmweb
Raphia sudanica Raphia sudanica Raphia sudanica Raphia sudanica

General Information

Raphia sudanica is an evergreen palm with a stout stem 2 - 3 metres or more tall. The stem is topped by a rosette of leaves that can each be 12 metres or more long. The plant suckers and can form impenetrable thickets of large extent[
970
Title
The Raphia Palms of West Africa
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol. 19 No. 2
Author
Russell T.A.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Year
1965
ISBN
 
Description
Describing the six known species of Raphia found in west Africa and their uses.
].
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It has sometimes been cultivated, especially in Nigeria[
970
Title
The Raphia Palms of West Africa
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol. 19 No. 2
Author
Russell T.A.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Year
1965
ISBN
 
Description
Describing the six known species of Raphia found in west Africa and their uses.
].
The species is widespread in western Africa. It is, however, widely exploited and its habitat is also threatened by many activities, including the 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)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

West tropical Africa - Senegal to Nigeria, Cameroon and Congo.

Habitat

Wet ground in swamps and by rivers in savannah regions[
970
Title
The Raphia Palms of West Africa
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol. 19 No. 2
Author
Russell T.A.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Year
1965
ISBN
 
Description
Describing the six known species of Raphia found in west Africa and their uses.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusData Deficient
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height10.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details



A monocarpic plant - growing for several years without flowering, then producing a massive inflorescence and dying after setting seed[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

The plant is tapped for its sap, which is fermented to make an alcoholic beverage[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
970
Title
The Raphia Palms of West Africa
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol. 19 No. 2
Author
Russell T.A.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Year
1965
ISBN
 
Description
Describing the six known species of Raphia found in west Africa and their uses.
].

The yellow, oily pulp below the outer scales is eaten and is also a source of oil used for cooking[
970
Title
The Raphia Palms of West Africa
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol. 19 No. 2
Author
Russell T.A.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Year
1965
ISBN
 
Description
Describing the six known species of Raphia found in west Africa and their uses.
].

Medicinal

The frond and midrib are used medicinally[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. This is likely to be in the treatment of blood disorders similar to the use of Raphia palma-pinus[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Other Uses

An oil obtained from the fruit pulp is used as a dressing for the hair[
970
Title
The Raphia Palms of West Africa
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol. 19 No. 2
Author
Russell T.A.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Year
1965
ISBN
 
Description
Describing the six known species of Raphia found in west Africa and their uses.
].

The mid-ribs of the leaf fronds have a wide range of uses, being employed in house construction, as canoe paddles, poles, furniture etc.

Although spiny, the leaf segments are used for weaving and plaiting into mats and baskets[
970
Title
The Raphia Palms of West Africa
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol. 19 No. 2
Author
Russell T.A.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
Year
1965
ISBN
 
Description
Describing the six known species of Raphia found in west Africa and their uses.
].

Propagation

Seed -

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