I bought one of these whips years ago at the sale of the contents of Dr Potter’s Museum of Curiosities at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. It was an extraordinary sale, full of natural history specimens and ethnographic objects from around the world as well as bizarre taxidermy tableaus – read more & see images here or here
The whip had an intriguing half-label attached. It read “Lace T… Bark and remaining ….. whip”. I spent a while trying to research it, but could not find much infomation.
A website visitor told me that the fibres were produced by “ponding” – the soaking and punding of the wood in water, which sounded reasonable.
I had almost forgotten about it until I saw another example at auction a little while ago. This one was in better condition with a lace-like ruff surviving at its top.
There is also an interesting paper about the plant from Kew Gardens here
The “ruff” is quite soft and does look convincingly lace-like .
“June 3rd 1938 in State Library of Victoria
YARRAMIBAT Gifts Mrs. 1W. Le Francke, of Yarrambat, presented a whip made from the lace tree of Jamaica-a valuable gift-for the school museum. Other gifts are: Mrs. Warren, cross-section of motor – tyre showing construction; Mr. H. Allen, beautiful pieces of coral and many shells; Mr. Carter, many pictures of overseas towns; Mr. D. Claude Robert son (Melbourne), six new tennis balls for children’s tennis.” I find myself imagining a somewhat bemused reaction to this selection of gifts…..