The famous Panama hats, fine qualities of which were at one time worth £20 to £30 each, are made from the leaves of the screw pine, Carludovica palmata.
The palm family is numerous and includes the species producing vegetable ivory (Phytelephas), straw for plaiting Panama hats (Carludovica palmata), and the peach palm (Guilielma speciosa).
Besides rubber, the forests produce a great variety of cabinet and construction woods, ivory-nuts (from the " tagua " palm, Phytelephas macrocarpa), " toquilla " fibre (Carludovica palmata) for the manufacture of so-called Panama hats, cabbage palms, several species of cinchona, vanilla and dyewoods.
The Colombian "Panama hat" is made from the fibres extracted from the ribs of the fanshaped leaves of still another species of palm, Carludovica palmata, while in the Rio Sinn region the natives make a kind of butter ("manteca de Corozo") from the Elaeis melanococca, Mart., by peeling the nuts in water and then purifying the oil extracted in this way by boiling.
Hat-making from the "jipijapa" fibre taken from the Carludovica palm is a domestic industry in many localities, and furnishes an article of export.