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Raffia palms thrive in Madagascar and East Africa, reaching heights of more than 45 feet. Their leaves are the longest in the plant kingdom, growing up to 75 inches. As the palm grows, branches produce seeds and then drop from the tree for harvesting. The branch fiber, mature seeds and fronds have many uses, but it is the membrane on the underside of each frond that is carefully peeled off and dried to create a beautiful woven raffia in these products. Raffia hats are completely handmade, with no two exactly alike.
Because raffia palms are hardy and prolific in their natural habitat, shedding their leaves naturally, they have been recognized as a renewable resource for products that have an especially low impact on the environment.