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Is there any specific term in English for the stick running through the small and narrow leaf of a big coconut leaf?

In coconut tree, there is a stick(resembling a spinal cord) running through the small and narrow leaf of its main big leaf. In my mother tongue Malayalam, we call it "eerkili". I have encountered several occasions where I had to reluctantly use the Malayalam word for this while communicating in English.

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Spine? What is a small and narrow leaf of a big main leaf? Picture? – mplungjan Aug 6 '14 at 9:40
Do you mean the part that runs through the individual leaflet, you can pull it out and use it for a toothpick or use it to stitch things together? – Frank Aug 6 '14 at 9:41
@Frank Absolutely! That long and narrow stick! – code_dweller Aug 6 '14 at 9:43
They call it a coconut leaf stick on the web – mplungjan Aug 6 '14 at 9:46
@mplungjan I actually wanted the colloquial word for that. – code_dweller Aug 6 '14 at 9:52

The "spine" of both the leaf and each pinna of the leaf appears to be called the midrib.

Detail of coconut leaf [Adityamadhav83 via Wikimedia]

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m (13–20 ft) long, and pinnae 60–90 cm long


Pinnately veined leaves have one large central vein, called the midrib, which extends from the base of the blade to its tip.

[Robinson Library]

A large strengthened vein along the midline of a leaf.


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+1 but it's questionable if many English speakers would identify 'coconut leaflet midrib' as the flexible stick you can pull from a coconut leaflet. I imagine that would be mostly due to a lack of awareness that there is such a thing. I wonder if there is a more colloquial term (in English) probably from the 18th or 19th century. – Frank Aug 6 '14 at 9:53
Could you provide me with a colloquial term for the midrib of the inner leaflets? – code_dweller Aug 6 '14 at 9:56
I'd use midrib. It specifies a rib down the middle of something. It's far more colloquial than rachis. Pinnate leaves have a midrib in each blade and what would probably be called a central stalk supporting the separate pinnae. – Andrew Leach Aug 6 '14 at 10:00
Midrib is also used in this in.com article _ Incredibly, pickles made out of bamboo’ and ‘eerkili’ (mid-rib of a coconut leaf) have been brought out, and have found enough takers._ – SrJoven Aug 6 '14 at 10:05
I'm still completely unclear what ANYONE is referring to! Heh! There one image so far but it contains at least 3 or 4 possibilities as to what is meant! – Joe Blow Aug 6 '14 at 15:06

Leaflet midrib

from uoregon.edu

Figure 10.-Coconut tree and its parts.

a, tree: 1, trunk (rakau); 2, base of trunk (tona); 3, roots (aka); 4, leaf (rou niu); 5, center keaves (tira).

b, leaf parts: 1, midrib (takai niu); 2, leaflet (mata rou niu); 3, leaflet midrib (tuaniu).

c, flower parts: 1,whole flower (karoro); 2, flower sheath (taume); 3, stalk of nut (pa karihi); 4, stalk of bunch (kauroro).

d, mature fruit: 1, outer skin (kiri taha); 2, husk (puru); 3, shell (ipu); 4, flesh (kaniu); 5, fluid (nia wai, plural); 6, nut stalk (pa karihi);.

e, growing nut (homo): 1, roots (aka); 2, leaf stipule (kaka); 3, leaf (rou homo); 4, central leaf (tira homo); 5, spongy interior (upu).

Older finds

I found this image at bioversityinternational.org:

enter image description here

but this one calls your specific part a midrib (rachis):

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What do we call the spine of leaflets that arise from the rachis? – code_dweller Aug 6 '14 at 9:54
Thanks for the diagram. So, is the spine of leaflets(pinnae) called as midrib? – code_dweller Aug 6 '14 at 10:14
Leaflet midrib. See update – mplungjan Aug 6 '14 at 11:47
So this is now the same as my answer? – Andrew Leach Aug 6 '14 at 12:26
by far the best answer – Joe Blow Aug 6 '14 at 15:06

I think the term used in botany is rachis:

  • In plants, a rachis is the main axis of a compound structure. It can be the main stem of a compound leaf, such as in Acacia or ferns, or the main, flower-bearing portion of an inflorescence above a supporting peduncle.


  • Pinnately Compound (Pinnate): With A Rachis

Source: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/termlf1.htm

Ngram: leaf rachis vs leaf midrib.

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What do we call the spine of leaflets that arise from the rachis? – code_dweller Aug 6 '14 at 9:56
Have a look at the second link I have attached. – Josh61 Aug 6 '14 at 9:58

midrib (petiole) of leaflet

The whole leaf is called coconut fond. stalk (petiole) of frond = Midrib. then leaflet of a frond. midrib (petiole) of leaflet https://www.flickr.com/photos/joegoauk73/16202081480/ the above / below pic is a broom entirely made of midribs

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