Things You Can Do With Fronds

by BobinOz on March 11, 2011

in Life in Australia

Bring Out Your Dead!

Fronds that is.

My thanks, once again to the knower of all things, Wikipedia. Today I’m thanking them for this perfectly worded description of a frond.

The term frond refers to a large, divided leaf. In both common usage and botanical nomenclature, the leaves of ferns are referred to as fronds and some botanists restrict the term to this group. Other botanists allow the term frond to also apply to the large leaves of cycads and palms (Arecaceae).

So there you go. As long as you are not a botanist of a certain leaning, then the big dead brown things that fall off of my palm trees can be simply referred to as fronds. Fronds live their lives up here…..

fronds in treesBut when they die, they fall down here….

dead frondsIn my world, they end up being scrunched up and placed into my rubbish bin, like this…..

fronds in binI’ve talked a lot about rubbish on this blog, hopefully you will have all seen my trilogy of articles on the subject, which started with Talking Rubbish, moved on with Any Old Iron and concluded with a piece about Dirty Harry.

What I didn’t mention was green bins. How could I? We didn’t have them then. But since late 2010, around these parts, that is those under the control of Brisbane City Council, we can pay an extra $30 for a green bin and $16.25 per quarter for its collection. I’ve not got one yet, but maybe I will.

Back to fronds.

But not all dead fronds end up in the bin. In other people’s worlds, the dead frond can have many uses. Yes, life after death for fronds. Here’s some that I found.

  • Frond art – including Nemo fish and palm-frond birds.
  • Palm frond string instruments.
  • Frond fans.
  • Frond baskets.
  • Palm frond mulch.
  • Palm Fronds Cement Blocks. (A work in progress)

I also remember watching the TV program “Dragon’s Den” and hearing a pitch from an entrepreneur who was turning dead fronds into disposable plates. Deborah Meaden wasn’t buying the idea. She said “Since the global financial crisis people buy on price first and then go green if they can. I’m afraid with those prices, you’ve priced yourself out of the market. I’m out!

Or something like that.

But the strangest use I have seen for a dead frond is to use it as a weapon………. to rob a store. I’m sure the assailant thought his plan through thoroughly, but how ever was he to know that his intended victim was armed with a much more powerful weapon.

Yes, he had a……… wooden bar stool!

Hmmm. Maybe I won’t get a green bin after all. Maybe I’ll use my imagination, as have so many other people, and do something exciting with all my dead fronds, grass cuttings and bush pruning’s.

I just have to make sure I think it through.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David March 18, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Hi Bob,

I think frond use should be divided into fan palm fronds and feather palm fronds. The former are palmately divided. In other words, they have leaves coming out from a central point. That gives them a clean stalk which could be used as a sort of short pole, if one wanted a short pole.

On the other hand, feather palm fronds are pinnately-divided. These are of less use, i my opinion. They fall into the palm mulch category of usefulness.

There is actually one more sort, bipinnately divided fronds. These only form on Caryota palms, also known as fish-tails. While these fronds are perhaps more useless again, all Caryotas have a sap which ferments within a day to make palm toddy. Collection of this delicacy is a thriving industry in several Asian countries. I put to you that a palm tree that gives out free drinks should be excused for having useless fronds.


BobinOz March 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm

I googled palm toddy, just because I liked the sound of it, and I like it even more now, it’s wine. So for all these years I’ve been throwing potential wine in my green bin!

Who knew?


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