Brazilian Piassava, or Bahia Bass as it is more commonly known, grows as a Palm tree in the south-eastern region of Brazil.
It is harvested from under the bark of the trunk of the tree, which forms the distinctive "bowl" shaped base.
The resultant fibre is therefore very long, sometimes up to three metres, and tapers naturally from the root end to the tip.
This enables the production of different grades of this fibre, the stiffest being near the root end, becoming progressively finer towards the tip.
Blending material from both ends produces the standard "medium" grade, whilst the root end produces "stiff" grade, and the tips become "fine".
This material has declined in popularity over the last few years, mainly because prices escalated to such a degree that it was all but replaced by polypropylene. However, in common with most natural fibres, Bahia will withstand high temperatures, friction and is impervious to many chemicals and solvents.
It is very suitable for higher quality stiff outdoor brooms, having superior sweeping qualities to African Sherbro (Bass) as it tends to sweep without "flicking" which makes it ideal for use in the garden.
It was also extensively used in Europe for the manufacture of sweep's brushes. However, with the decline in use of fossil based fuels for domestic heating, these are now more of a rarity.
The fibre can be mixed with other fibres, for example Palmyra (Bassine), produces an excellent material for semi-stiff sweeping brooms.