Metroxylon taedigerum (Mart.) Spreng.
Raphia aulacolepis Burret
Raphia nicaraguensis Oerst.
Raphia vinifera nicaraguensis (Oerst.) Drude
Raphia vinifera taedigera (Mart.) Drude
Sagus taedigera Mart.
Raphia tadigera is an evergreen palm producing a cluster of 5 - 6 or more stems, growing from 1 - 6 metres tall. The erect, unbranched stems can be 20 - 40cm in diameter; they are each topped with a crown of 5 - 15, large leaves that can each be up to 10 metres long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials.
West tropical Africa - Nigeria, Cameroon; S. America - Brazil, Colombia; C. America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua.
Lowland tropical rainforests, in permanently swampy areas, usually near the sea[
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A monocarpic plant - growing for several years without flowering, then producing a massive inflorescence and dying after setting seed[
The oil obtained from the fruit pulp is used in rubs as a treatment for gout, rheumatism and paralysis[
The cylindrical leafstalks, often 3.6 metres or more in length, are used for the walls or partitions of traditional houses, and are also used in other ways[
A fibre is derived from the cuticle of the leaves, which are harvested before fully expanded and peeled upon both sides. The thin strips of fibrous material thus obtained are afterwards divided into narrower strips by a kind of comb, according to the purpose for which they are to be used. It appears as flat, straw-coloured strips, about 12 - 18mm wide and from 90 - 120cm long. It is capable of being divided into fine threads. It can be used for delicately plaited goods, hats, mats for covering lloors, and for wrapping up goods. The loose strips are extensively used in place of Russian bast or tie bands by gardeners and nurserymen. More recently it has been woven into superior matting, tastefully coloured, and used instead of tapestry for covering walls in London houses[
The preparation of raffia is one of the most extensive industries in Madagascar. The men cut the palm leaves in the forests and bring them home for the women to complete the work. The fibre is cured the same day i t is stripped[
] Among its native uses may be mentioned cordage and fishing nets[
Thin strips from the surfaces of the leaf petioles are used to make cages etc[
The long petioles of the leaves can be used as poles[
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