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Got Culture? Silver Thatch: A Caymanian Tradition

Miss Rose and Thatch Baskets

Photo Credit: Adonza Harrison

One of my all time favorite Caymanian traditions is Silver Thatch weaving.  The Silver Thatch Palm is Cayman’s National Tree.  It is one of the most unique trees on the planet.  The upper-side of the palm is a lush green, whilst underneath is silver.  Here’s a little secret about Silver Thatch, when the moonlight catches the silvery side of the palm, it looks absolutely glorious.  Silver Thatch Palm is not only a beautiful icon of the Cayman Islands, but a very versatile plant.

When I think of Caymanian Heritage I think of the beautiful baskets, hats, thatch rope, fans and those old time Caymanian shoes called “wompers” all made with love and the Silver Thatch Palm.  I remember as a child going to visit each district’s Heritage Day during Pirates Week, and my favorite part was getting to see the sweet old Caymanian ladies weaving their thatch baskets and sharing their memories of what it was like growing up in Cayman back in the day.  It’s a proud Caymanian tradition.  Using Silver Thatch to make items like baskets, hats and fans is eco friendly, and practices sustainability.

Silver Thatch Basket and Hat

Photo Credit: Adonza Harrison

Silver Thatch weaving continues today, and thankfully members of Cayman’s community are teaching today’s youth how to weave Silver Thatch, whilst educating them about Cayman’s Heritage.  One lady that comes to mind is Caymanian born “Miss Rose,” as she is affectionately known by fellow Caymanian’s.  At the tender age of 8 she learned how to plait silver thatch.  Miss Rose shared her knowledge by teaching Silver Thatch to the children in her neighborhood.  For Miss Rose Silver Thatch was a way of life.  She supported her family by practicing sustainability by making various eco friendly items from Silver Thatch.  When she retired she devoted her time to help teach classes about Silver Thatch to the public.  Her daughter Adonza, recalls her mom always saying “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop so sit down here and get busy with this plaiting.”  Some great advice for the youth of Cayman.  Teaching the youth and adults the valuable skill of Silver Thatch plaiting is very dear to Miss Rose.  Miss Rose has passionately helped to preserve Caymanian Heritage by teaching children and adults the art of Silver Thatch for over 20 years.  Her noble efforts to pass down Caymanian traditions to today’s generation was honored by Her Majesty the Queen during the Quincentennial Year in 2003.  In 2011, she received a Heritage award for her contribution in preserving Caymanian Heritage.

Silver Thatch Hat

Photo Credit: Adonza Harrison

Learning the art of Silver Thatch is a definite on my life’s bucket list.  I hope to go to a class this summer.  It is important that we preserve our heritage.  I encourage my fellow Caymanian’s to support local, and help preserve our cherished Caymanian traditions and heritage.  Today’s generation and those after us need to learn about their local heritage and take an interest in Cayman’s history.  If traditions like Silver Thatch aren’t passed down, then it will become just a memory.  I implore you to take an interest in your heritage and get involved in supporting your community.  A huge thank you to members of  Cayman’s community like “Miss Rose” and others, who are working to preserve Caymanian heritage and tradition.  God bless you!

With love from one Caymanian Heritage lover to another xo


Adonza Harrison


  1. Pingback: Silver Thatch: Cayman’s National Tree |

    • Hi, sorry for such a late response. I will look into getting you further info about classes for the cayman thatch. Thanks for visiting the blog 🙂