Most of our products are handcrafted out of Romblon leaves (pandanus genus and also called Pandan), a salt-tolerant type of screw pine found in many islands in the Western Pacific. It grows in abundance by the seashore and is a sustainable resource.
The sword shaped leaves are harvested leaving the plant to grow new leaves for future use. Once dried, the leaves are traditionally woven into sleeping mats, market bags and other useful items.
At Native Leaf, we create wine and gift bags, boxes, placemats and market totes using romblon leaves.
In the Philippines, there are over 50 varieties of romblon, with some types producing leaves softer and more pliable, depending on where it grows. There are also varieties that grow in Malaysia, Indonesia and Hawaii.
Romblon / Pandan leaves are super fragrant and used as a flavor ingredient and as green food coloring in Filipino Cuisine. Though most uses are for desserts such as custards, puddings and gelatin, there including pandan-wrapped fried chicken. Pandan is also an ingredient for teas and other herbal concoctions.
Other plants used in Native Leaf’s products:
Abaca (Musa Textilis)
Abaca is a giant herbaceous plant closely related to the banana.
Native to the Philippines, it is valued for its super strong and flexible fiber. Its fiber is used for rope, cordage, twine, marine cable, pulp and specialty paper (hence, the name “manila envelopes” after the capital of the Philippines).
Abaca is also woven into textiles and is naturally lustrous in appearance. At Native Leaf, we create wine and custom gift boxes, market bags (from the plant’s outer peel), and textile mini bags.
All textiles used in Native Leaf products are hand-woven in backyard bamboo looms — a long process requiring much patience.