One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tall Indian palm with very large fan-shaped leaves and a flower that can reach 8 m tall. The leaves are used as sunshades and for thatching, and to make the material on which Buddhist sacred books are written.
Corypha umbraculifera, family Palmae
- ‘These were substantially built of timber and talipots, thatched with cadjans and bamboo leaves, and festooned and decorated as the Singhalese only can decorate - leaves, flowers and fruit being entwined together with so much delicacy and airy tastefulness as to impart an almost fairy-like form to the pavilion.’
- ‘Talipots only flower once and then die.’
- ‘Some years pass without any talipots coming out into bloom at all; many years only one or two are to be seen, but on average there is a full show every seven to ten years.’
- ‘The use of the talipots and the lion flag were conceded by the king to a chief in the Uggalboda sannas, together with the use of the ceremonial torches.’
- ‘The flowering talipot is a breathtaking sight, but one that is becoming increasingly rare in the city these days.’
Late 17th century: from Malayalam tālipat, from Sanskrit tālīpatra, from tālī ‘palm’ + patra ‘leaf’.
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