Doum palm

“The doum palm (Hyphaene compressa) is an unusual palm tree in the sense that it branches, which is rare for palm trees. Each branch is crowned with large, fan-shaped leaves. In Kenya, the tree grows abundantly in Lamu, and is also common in Turkana, Tharaka and other arid and semiarid areas. It likes hot dry areas (up to 1400 masl), with a high groundwater table, like alongside rivers. The doum palm can grow to 10 – 20 metres and since it is a slow grower, big trees could be as old as 100 years. The palm is dioecious, meaning there are female and male trees.”

“Poles are used for fencing, roofi ng (rafters), constructing latrines, but not sold on a commercial scale. The wood is hard and termite proof (although the Turkana claim this is only the wood from male trees).”

These palm trees are the ones used by the Turkana tribes to make their constructions. I believe it is a resource we should not ignore as it is capable of providing  both the structure and the envelope of a building.  It’s sap is also used to produce wine, its fruit is edible and more importantly its leaves are used for weaving which presents an interesting opportunity.

Check these pdf in the links below




One thought on “Doum palm

  1. Fresh leaves contain about 20% fibre, but the yield after decortication is only 12–13%. The fibre is about 40 cm long, and weaker and coarser than jute fibre. The ultimate fibres are (0.5–)1.5–2.1(–3.6) mm long and (10–)13–15(–25) μm wide. Leaf pulp can be made into good-quality paper, but available quantities are too low for commercial production. The ultimate fibres of the rachis are on average 0.8 mm long and 13.7 μm wide, with a cell wall thickness of 3.5 μm and a lumen width of 6.8 μm. Pulps obtained from the rachis by the soda-anthraquinone (soda-AQ), alkaline sulphite-anthraquinone (AS-AQ) and alkaline sulphite-anthraquinone-methanol (ASAM) processes had low strength properties and seemed unsuitable for competitive papermaking. However, blending with kenaf bark pulp gave paper suitable for writing and printing.

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