Heart of palm

I love how this careful schematic cross-section of a palm stem calls to mind, of all things, Indian/First Nations art from the Pacific Northwest—about as un-palmy a place as you can go to. About the palm: “Large, ascending leaves to about 6 m (20 ft.) tall, with glossy green leaflets, spiny leafstalks and a mostly underground, clustering trunk characterize this unusual palm from the Malay Peninsula. It is found in disturbed, open areas in rainforests between sea level and 800 m (2700 ft.). The large, scaly fruit are edible when unripe and the leaves make excellent thatch. About the man: “The author of over 150 botanical titles, including the great flora of Brazil, Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius also wrote the still-definitive three-volume treatise on the palm family, one of the first plant monographs. He developed his life-long fascination with palms during an expedition through Brazil from 1817 to 1820, and he worked nearly 30 years to prepare this grand summation, including palms found only as fossils.”

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Eugeisona tristis (detail),” from Historia Naturalis Palmarum (The Natural History of Palms by Karl Friedrich Phillipp von Maritus, 1823–50 :: via BibliOdyssey

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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