a large feather palm of Africa and Madagascar having very long pinnatisect fronds yielding a strong commercially important fiber from its leafstalks
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The Raffia palms are a genus of twenty species of palms native to tropical regions of Africa, especially Madagascar, with one species also occurring in Central and South America. They grow up to 16 m tall and are remarkable for their compound pinnate leaves, the longest in the plant kingdom; leaves of R. regalis up to 25 m long and 3 m wide are known. The plants are either monocarpic, flowering once and then dying after the seeds are mature, or hapaxanthic, with individual stems dying after fruiting but the root system remaining alive and sending up new stems.
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