Raffia is a material made from dried strips of raffia palm leaves, which are native to parts of South America and Africa. It is commonly used to protect bonsai trees from damage during wiring, which is a technique to bend and shape the branches and trunk of the tree. Raffia works by wrapping around the branch or trunk before applying the wire, preventing the wire from cutting into the bark or wood, distributing the stress caused by bending, and keeping the branch moist. Raffia is soaked in water for about 30 minutes before use, to make it soft and pliable. It is usually applied in three or four layers, and removed after the wire is taken off .