pped from Hawaii. General: These palms are the source of raffia fibre, which is made from the leaf bases. Leaves of the Gebang palm are made into umbrellas and books; others provide material for rain capes, baskets, raffia (Raphia farinifera), hats, hammocks, and the fiber known as piassava. Cultivation: These palms like very wet feet, and a tropical or sub-tropical climate. They are best suited to parks or large gardens, because of their very large size.