Record Detail

EBC 31969


Specimen Notes:
  • Label Source: Hat made of the leaves of the Bera or Arrow Grass

    Source: Museum Entry Book 1855-61, p35: The rough cuticle is scraped off the leaves and they are then split into strips of convenient breadth. These hats are of very ugly form, but for flexibility and durability they can hardly be surpassed. I have seen them nowhere but on Guainia and Casiquiare, though the material exists in endless abundance on Amazon. Made at Pueblo de Monagas near upper mouth of Casiquiare.

    Source: Spruce, R. (1855) Domestic Uses. Plantae Amazonicae. Domestic Uses. (pp31-61) and miscellaneous notes, p46.: This exceedingly handsome grass is most abundant in the Amazon. It is found on Rio Negro near every village where Indians themselves consider it has been planted. I have never seen it truly wild. On Amazon from Rio Negro upwards one scarcely ever loses sight of it, long broad strips often unmined with any other plant. Its aspect is quite that of a bed of reeds on a gigantic scale. Its usual height is 15 - also fence his garden and make hen coops. For common purposes it is used in its rough state with persistent leaf sheath still on, but for ceilings and other uses in interiors of houses the sheaths are stripped. As I came up Nacuta my Indians each provided himself with a 12ft long stem of caƱa brava which served to propel the canoe whenever water was shallow enough more quickly than oars do. Also manufactured into durable hats.

    Source Museum entry book 1847-1855, pp 77-78: Growing in large beds on the Itah de mari- mari- luba, in the Amazon, between Santarem and Obidos. The whole of this was over 20 ft high and it was cut off from the ground The five pairs of ropes which hold it down to the earth would seem to be scarcely needed in the dry season, but in the wet season when 5 to 15 feet of its stem are under water and the river sweeps along with great fury it is obvious that without their stay, the plant must speedily be uprooted. The length here sent is 7 ft 8 inches. Above this was the fiche, the naked stalk of the panicle. Lastly at the summit was the noble mane like panicle, clad with myriads of purple and silver flowers.
  • Record posted on March 27, 2009 and last updated March 27, 2009