This plant is a popular ornamental. When very young, the leaves have an asparagus flavour and are eaten like hearts of palm. The unopened inflorescence may be cooked and eaten. The leaf fibres are woven into different types of hats, including the famous Panama hats, produced mainly in Ecuador. Many everyday items are also made from the leaves, including brooms and baskets. They are even used as fly-swatters. In Amazonia, the leaf stalk is made into blowgun darts. The roots are cooked and used to treat bruises.