The Nipa palm tree, native to coastlines and mangroves in the Pacific and Indian oceans, grows fronds that reach up to 22 feet in length. The Raffia palm tree, native to tropical regions in Africa, Madagascar and Central and South America, has the longest leaves in the plant kingdom. Raffia palm fronds grow to an average of 60 feet in length, but specimens over 82 feet in length and almost 10 feet wide are known.Continue Reading
The fronds from the Nipa palm tree are heavily exploited by native individuals as roofing material in the areas they are found. The leaflets of the fronds are woven together to construct a rain-resistant thatching suitable for dwellings located in Pacific and Indian ocean areas. In some instances, the Nipa palm tree was purposely introduced to non-native areas due to its frond strength when used as roof thatching. Native individuals also use Nipa palm fronds to weave baskets and make cigarette paper for tobacco smoking.
Raffia palm fronds are used to cultivate strong fibers for material manufacture by populations native to the Raffia palm's natural range. Fibers are cultivated from the veins found in the underside of the frond leaf and sun dried until they are beige in color. Plain-frond fibers are used to make twine, rope and baskets, while dyed-frond fibers are used to make hats, textiles and shoes.Learn more about Botany