Raphia ruwenzorica

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Raphia (rahf-EE-ah) ruwenzorica
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Scientific Classification
Genus: Raphia (rahf-EE-ah)
Species: ruwenzorica
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Highland Raffia Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Grows in high altitude savannah, between 800 and 1500 m. This species is only
Photo by Paul Craft.
known from East Democratic Republic of Congo, around lakes Edward (Idi Amin Dada) and Kivu, and Burundi. Its presence in Rwanda has also been reported. (African Plant Database)


Tall, solitary palm; stem erect, to 10 m tall; leaflets 140-150 on each side of rachis; fruits turbinate to ellipsoid, 10-13 cm long and 5-6 cm in diameter, covered with dark brown scales. (African Plant Database), Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

A moderate sized species native to the highlands of eastern Africa in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and neighboring areas of the Dem. Rep. of Congo, where it is found in moist valley bottoms between 800 and 1200 m, sharing a habitat with the famous mountain gorillas. It forms a solitary trunk to 10 m tall, mostly covered in the persistent leafbases. The leafbases produce copious amounts of long, brown fibers. The lightly plumose, ascending to arching leaves are shorter than in most Raphia, forming a denser, more spreading crown, and consist of up to 150 broad leaflets that are dark green above and an attractive waxy white grey below. The short petioles as well as the leaf midrib are a brilliant yellowish orange color and are the highlight of this palm. It has one of the largest fruits in the genus, up to 13 cm long, covered in attractive, snakeskin-like scales. The Highland Raffia Palm is apparently unknown in cultivation outside of Africa so far but will surely grow well in many warm temperate and all tropical climates. (RPS.com)

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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