Sunday, May 17, 2009

ABC Wednesday: R is for Rice Paper Plant (通草), Tetrapanax papyriferus

This is the Rice Paper Plant we saw in the same forest of La-La Mountain where there are many huge ancient trees.  Do you know that Chinese rice paper is not made from rice, rather from the pith of this plant?  We remember that we used to use brushes to write Chinese characters on very thin rice paper.  

We were attracted by the gigantic leaves which look like leaves from the papaya plant.  The leaf can be several feet wide, with the sunlight shone through it, it was quite a sight!

This is the young shoot of this plant about to open.  The interesting thing about this plant is, before the invention of styrofoam, we used the dried pith of this plant to make models in the kindergarden and primary school.  They were often dyed into different colors.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

18 comments:

Pamposh Dhar said...

I love this post! Never imagined rice paper came from such a beautiful green plant. I never really thought about it, but at the back of my mind WAS probably the assumption that it was connected to rice in some way. Tks for sharing the photos and the info. Very interesting.

Pamposh (ABC Team)

kRiZ cPEc said...

whatever it's called, I love this lush scene. :)

Sylvia K said...

I agree with kRIZ, whatever it's called I love your shots! They are so green and lush!

Marie Reed said...

I had no idea that rice paper came from this plant! What a shame that Styrofoam is used now instead of the dried pith... It's a valuable lesson that you've taught us here! We can use the resources surrounding us and don't have to buy buy buy expensive and non biodegradable materials:)

RuneE said...

You have taught me something I didn't know - that is always welcome.

Reader Wil said...

Very informative post! Thank you for the explanation about the rice paper. The plant is very decorative.. Thank you also for your visit and kind words!

Carol said...

How interesting...It's a beautiful plant...I too thought rice paper was made from rice....beautiful greens in these photos...I like that you showed the new shoots...

Karyn said...

Wow...who would have thought rice paper was not made from rice?

Terrific pictures of this plant! Thanks for the interesting information.

Denise said...

A great post, and gorgeous photos. So interesting to find you can get rice paper from it. I love learning about such things. Thank you!

Mel said...

I hadn't a CLUE that rice paper wasn't made from rice. Now I have something new to share with my Chinese born daughters! Thanks for sharing!

Tumblewords: said...

I had no idea - thank you! Your photos are superb!

Janie said...

Beautiful exotic plants. Interesting to learn where rice paper really comes from.

Q said...

I di dnot know rice paper came from this plant.
I just love ABC Wednesday...I learn so much.
Lovely photographs of a fantastic looking tree.
Sherry

Roger Owen Green said...

Learned something new! thanks!

Lily Hydrangea said...

interesting R post, thanks!

Jay said...

Well, there you go! You do learn something new every day! I had no idea that rice paper wasn't made of rice. Fascinating!

JoAnn's-D-Eyes said...

Very nice indeed , I like nature and your blo só much!

Greetings from JoAnn/Holland

Joy said...

Rice paper always brings back memories of parties as a child when half pears were made into boats with rice paper sails. Never knew it came from a plant like this

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