Serious Cirrus
Friday, January 4, 2013 at 10:34AM
[chuck] in Plectocomia assamica, Rattan, Science, cirrus, flagellum

Rattans possess one of two different types of climbing organs; both are whip-like and spiny. A flagellum is a sterile inflorescence borne on the leaf sheath at the base of the petiole (go here for a picture of a flagellum).  A cirrus, on the other hand, is an extension of the leaf rachis beyond the terminal leaflets. The rattan leaf shown above, Plectocomia assamica (see Shooting Plectocomia), has an enormous cirrus which extends out over 2 to 3 meters. This massive, solitary rattan has one of the longest cirri of any rattan. It will rip a large hole in your shirt if it snags you while you're moving through the forest. [NOTE: The person in the blue plaid shirt (with all of the holes) holding the leaf upright for the photo - is me. Andrew Henderson and field crew are visible in the background].  

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