Raphia mambillensis

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Raphia (rahf-EE-ah)
mambillensis (mam-BILL-en-sis)
Faye 60 Raphia farinifera Congo 5.JPG
Faye Adama 60, Republic of Congo, Feb 2014. Photo by Dr. Adama Faye.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Raphia (rahf-EE-ah)
mambillensis (mam-BILL-en-sis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Sudan. Montane situations.

Couvreur 638, Belo, Cameroon, March 2014. Photo by Dr. Thomas Couvreur.


A trunkless, or near trunkless, palm with huge fronds. Palm up to 7 metres. This species is common near villages at the edge of water courses, in humid valleys, swampy areas and it also grows in primary gallery forests on hydromorphic soil. It tolerates cold and extends over a wide altitudinal range. It dies after fruiting, monocarpic. Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Along with other Raphia species it plays an important role in the prevention of hydraulic erosion and it also help slow down the rate of water flow, which helps prevent agricultural land from drying out.

Conservation: A potential threat to this species is over harvesting, however its utilisation for palm wine has so far ensured that populations have been well maintained, especially along streams. R. mambillensis is present in the Manovo-Gounda-Saint Floris National Park and Bali Ngemba Forest Reserve. This palm is not listed on CITES and seeds from this species are not present in the Millennium Seed Bank, UK. A single collection is known from a botanic garden. In previous conservation assessments it was rated as Lower Risk/conservation dependent, using the IUCN 1994 Red List Categories, and as Least Concern using the IUCN 2001 Red List Categories. The plant receives some rudimentary cultivation in the villages of the high country around Bamenda in Eastern Nigeria and Dschang in West Cameroon. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is working on conservation projects in this area. The Kilum-Ijim Forest Project is one of the pioneers of community forestry in Cameroon and is widely regarded as a model of how communities can manage their forests for both biodiversity conservation and to meet their own needs.

Uses: In eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon this palm is of immense importance as a village plant where it is used to make palm wine. It is also used for poison fishing.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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