• WordNet 3.6
    • n Raphia feather palm of tropical Africa and Madagascar and Central and South America widely grown for commercial purposes
    • n raphia leaf fibers of the raffia palm tree; used to make baskets and mats etc.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n raphia A genus of palms of the tribe Lepidocaryeæ, type of the subtribe Raphieæ (which is distinguished from the true ratan-palms, Calameæ, by a completely three-celled ovary). It is characterized by pinnately divided leaves crowning an erect and robust trunk, and by a fruit which becomes one-celled, is beaked with the three terminal stigmas, and has a thick pericarp tessellated with overlapping scales, spongy within and containing a single oblong furrowed seed with very hard osseous albumen. There are 5 species, natives of tropical Africa and Madagascar, with one, R. tædigera, the jupati-palm (which see), native in America from the mouths of the Amazon to Nicaragua. All inhabit low swampy lands and banks near tide-water. Their trunks are unarmed and of little height, but their leaves are spiny and often over 50 feet in length, the entire tree becoming thus 60 or 70 feet in height to their erect tips. The large pendulous flower-spikes reach 6 feet in length, contain flowers of both sexes, and have their numerous branches set in two opposite rows, their flower-bearing branchlets resembling flattened catkins. In fruit the spike sometimes becomes 15 feet long, and weighs 200 or even 300 pounds, bearing numerous egglike brown and hard fruits often used as ornaments. R. Ruffia, which produces the largest spadices, is known as the raffia-palm. (See raffia.) R. vinifera supplies the toddy of western tropical Africa, and its leafstalks are used in various ways.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Raphia rā′fi-a a genus of handsome pinnately-leaved palms.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary


In literature:

With this road-metal are mingled short strips of raphia, or palm-fibre, flexible ribbons, easily bent.
"The Life of the Spider" by J. Henri Fabre
The dead body is fixed by the hind-legs to the top of the stake with a ligature of raphia.
"The Wonders of Instinct" by J. H. Fabre
The opposing hosts met at Ropeh, the Raphia of the Greeks, on the very borders of the desert.
"Ancient Egypt" by George Rawlinson
Ashdod had probably submitted after the battle of Raphia, and had been allowed to retain its native prince, Azuri.
"The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria" by George Rawlinson
At Rapiki (Raphia) he routed an army of allies.
"Myths of Babylonia and Assyria" by Donald A. Mackenzie
Many Shuare Raphia palms grow in the river which flows past it.
"The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Volume I (of 2), 1866-1868" by David Livingstone
Sargon's inscriptions name the opponent against whom he fought at Raphia in the year 720 B.C.
"The History of Antiquity, Vol. III (of VI)" by Max Duncker