]The jipijapa palm (Carludovica palmata) is a palm-like monocot plant. It is not a true palm. Its leaves are different than the leaves of true palms, and unlike true palms it 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. Panama hat plant is a stemless, somewhat palm-like, evergreen plant, producing clusters of large, fan-shaped leaves 1 - 4 metres tall. The plant is often cultivated in S. America, especially in Ecuador, for the fibre that is obtained from the leaf stem. The fibre is especially used to make hats - the 'Panama hat'. These hats are imported in quantity from Ecuador into other Central American countries, and are so esteemed that poor people often buy them at very high prices. The plant is also used as a source of food. Because of its handsome appearance, the plant is often grown for ornament. Found in lowland and submontane tropical rainforest, sandy soils and secondary vegetation. Prefers Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils. The young leaves and shoot tips are edible, having tastes of asparagus and eaten in salads.