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Raphia palma-pinus - (Gaertn.) Hutch.

Common Name Thatch palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet swamps, either fresh or slightly brackish, near the coast. Often behind mangrove swamps[970 ]. Lowland swamp and riparian palm, often associated with shady conditions and extremely high rain fall[328 ].
Range West tropical Africa - Senegal to Gambia, Cameroon, Congo, northern Angola.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Raphia palma-pinus Thatch palm

Raphia palma-pinus Thatch palm

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Raphia palma-pinus or Thatch palm is a tropical palm about 2-3m tall that develops suckers and forms clump. The fronds are yellowish-green and not shiny. Edible parts are the fruit, seeds, sap, and palm heart. It is known for other names such as Apel, Batata, Befen, Dahare, Dara, Darre, Mambampa-tara, Tara, and Tarra.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Raphia palma-pinus is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.


Sagus palma-pinus Gaertn. Raphia gaertneri G.Mann & H.Wendl. Raphia gracilis Becc.


Wet swamps, either fresh or slightly brackish, near the coast. Often behind mangrove swamps[970 ]. Lowland swamp and riparian palm, often associated with shady conditions and extremely high rain fall[328 ].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The frond and petiole are used as a medicine to treat blood disorders[338 ].

Other Uses

Other Uses: 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[970 ]. The mid-ribs of the leaves are used to make poles and are made into household furnishings such as chairs and beds[970 ]. The fronds are used extensively as thatch[970 ].

Cultivation details

A monocarpic plant - growing for several years without flowering, then producing a massive inflorescence and dying after setting seed[200 ].


Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Apel, Batata, Befen, Dahare, Dara, Darre, Mambampa-tara, Tara, Tarra,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Benin; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mali; Senegal; Sierra Leone, Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast, Senegal, West Africa,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Data Deficient

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Raphia fariniferaRaffia Palm30
Raphia hookeriIvory Coast Raffia Palm32


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Expert comment


(Gaertn.) Hutch.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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Subject : Raphia palma-pinus  
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