The leaves of the fishtail palm are considered ideal for use in flower arrangements as they are so striking and long-lasting once cut.

It is known locally in Central America as xate, along with other species of the same genus that also have economic value.

Typically, harvesters (known as xateros) go into the forest collecting leaves. These are then taken to a sorting house where unblemished ones are selected and put into cold storage before they are shipped to important floral auction centres such as Miami and Amsterdam for later distribution to local florists.