Plant of the month: February
Also Known As: Panama hat plant / toquilla palm
Native To: Tropical America south to Bolivia
Blooms: Spring to summer, fruits autumn to winter, foliage evergreen
Habitat: Humid, tropical forest
Where Found At Birmingham Botanical Gardens: Tropical House
LOOKS LIKE A PALM, BUT IT ISN’T
The Panama hat plant is not a true palm. Its leaves are different to palms and does not develop a woody trunk.
Around six young leaves are washed, dried, bleached and plaited to make each hat.
The hats can be rolled up or squashed flat and will regain their shape. The best hats come from Jipijapa and Montecristi in Ecuador.