Sunday, July 09, 2006

josef george kamel, s.j. drawing of palm leaves

Kamel illustrates details of four species of plant, which he identifies as palms (from top left to bottom right): pandanus, buri, coconut and areca or bunga used for the chew called nga-nga in Tagalog, ma-ma or mamun in Visayan.

While its leaves are palm-like, Pandanus odorantissimus, the species Kamel illustrates elsewhere, belongs to the Pandanaceæ family. Buri (Corphyra elata Roxb.), coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) and bunga (Areca catechu L.) belong to the Palmæ/ Arecæ family. Of all plants, palms are the most iconic of the tropics. They are also economically useful plants. Pandanus leaves are used for weaving mats, baskets and containers; buri leaves are used likewise. Buri is a favorite material for wide-brimmed sun hats and an alternate to nipa for roof thatching. Coconut's usefulness is endless. It leaves can be woven to make temporary roofs, containers and ornaments. The mid-rib of the compound leaf is stripped and bundled together to make a broom. Its trunk is a sturdy lumber used for temporary post of bridges because it is impervious to water. The list is endless. Areca bound people together because the act of chewing nga-nga was used as a way of showing goodwill; this traditional practice is fast disappearing among urbanites but persists among cultural communities.


Post a Comment

<< Home