Raffia Palm (Raphia Farinifera) Or Floury Raphia

Raffia palm (Raphia farinifera) or floury raphia

The raffia palm is a large spreading palm whose robust trunk is covered on its base by old palms. The evergreen leaves can grow up to 1 to 20 meters long, they are erect, arched, divided into many linear leaflets measuring 1 to 2 meters, waxy in appearance and rather light green above, whitish below. Their petiole is thorny.

Small yellow-green flowers about 1 cm in diameter, in panicles 2 to 3 m long, develop in summer. They are followed by scaly fruits, ovoid, orange, about ten centimeters. Be careful, the tree does not bloom and fruit only once, after it dies, the rejections will take over.

It is a freezing tree that does not support less than 5° C, which explains why it is found mainly in East Africa and Madagascar. At home, we grow it in a greenhouse or veranda or as a houseplant.

  • Family: Arecaceae
  • Type: tree
  • Origin: Madagascar and East Africa
  • Color: yellow-green flowers
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: no
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: summer
  • Height: up to 10 m

Ideal soil and exposure for the raffia palm

The raffia palm grows well in a cool, rich, well-drained, acidic or not, and at a sunny or half-shaded exposure. In its original environment, it grows mainly in humid zones, along the rivers.

Date of sowing and planting of the raffia palm

Sowing can be considered in the spring after soaking the seeds, but if you can, it is better to recover a rejection. Planting is done in the spring.

Board of care and cultivation of the palm with raffia

Remove the dried palms, and be careful that there is a good hygrometry in the veranda or room that hosts your raffia palm.

Harvesting, conservation and use of raffia

Raffia and not rafia!

The stipe of the raffia palm contains a floury substance rich in starch which is used as flour for food and is called "sago". A palm wine is also extracted from the raffia palm.

The raffia used as a link comes from the fibers of its leaves. But this raffia is also used in basketry to make baskets, hats, bags, etc., as well as to make russian carpets, beach mats...

Diseases, pests and parasites of the raffia palm

In the greenhouse, red spiders are the main enemies to be feared.

Location and favorable association of the raffia palm

It is a plant that is grown indoors, at home.

The Raphia farinifera is one of the palm species of the genus Raphia among the twenty existing...

(photo by Denis.prévôt - Personal work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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