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The Abaniko refers to the native fan from the Philippines, which is made from the stems and leaves of an ornamental plant of the same name -- the abaniko (belamcanda chinensis). The traditional abaniko is a fan woven into the shape of a paddle, but the use of the term is also applied to the folding (Spanish) fan. Traditionally, the latter was used as part of the Filipina garment -- the baro't saya. Different ways of holding the fan signified different meanings -- an open abaniko which covers the chest area symbolizes modesty, while rapid fan movements showed displeasure.

Abaniko Plant

The Abaniko plant (Belamcanda Chinensis D.C.) is originally found within the south-east Asian region. It is planted for ornamental purposes and is currently being cultivated in most warm countries.

The stem of the abaniko is leafy, erect, tufted, and about 0.5 to 1.5 meters high. Its leaves are 2-ranked, strongly imbricated, crowded, sword-shaped, which is 40 to 60 centimeters long, and 2.5 to 4 centimeters wide. The inflorescence is dichotomously branched, terminal and erect. The spathes are ovate-lanceolate, and about 1 centimeter long. The flowers are pedicelled, opening 1 or 2 at a time, 4 to 6 centimeters across. The perianth-tube is very short, and the segments narrowly elliptic, spreading, yellowish outside, and inside reddish-yellow with reddish spots. The capsules are obovoid, membraneous, and loculicidal. The seeds are nearly spherical in shape, with lax and shining tests. [1]

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