by Anurag N Sharma (Id by Shrikant Ingalhalikar) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more photos & complete details, click
on the links)


Flowering and fruiting: December-April

Evergreen forests
South West India and Sri Lanka

(Attributions- Dr. N Sasidharan (Dr. B P Pal Fellow), Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi



ANAPR35 What are these structures? : 15 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (4)
This was growing not unlike prop roots but from a very large and old liana in an evergreen forest. When I caught hold of one it crumbled in my hand. I checked, but it had no clear internal structure.
Date: March 2015
Place: Aralam WLS, Kerala
Habit from which this growing: Liana
Habitat: Evergreen forest

you mean the entire thickness of the rope like structure crumbled in your hand or just the funny flaky looking grey flat pieces ?
is this going from the earth upwards?
was this on several trees or only on this one?
If its just the flaky grey things climbing up the ropes…
ist choice….fungal colonies?

If you are going back , then ….very gingerly cut a piece with very sharp knives and put piece in 10% formalin and give it to some histology lab to do histology slides if possible, fungus will show up very nicely…

are you by any chance going back?

second thing I just thought of was … could it be ash?

like what if there was a short duration fire and the bark(?) on the aerial roots burned but did not fall down, and the fire itself was of self limiting nature.

Far fetched scenario but it could happen.

third some weird LICHEN that I dont know anything about.. usually they are flat and dont really crumble easily. There is one stick/root behind your or someone’s head in one of the pictures.. look they are flat colonies…

fourth… some sort of sap… non-resinous, dried out and so crumbled easily.


some insects like the termites or their cousins are living inside and this is their poop…along with wood dust they discarded…

well I cant  think anymore… reached my limit of weirdness..

lets hear from some plant pathologists

they would know for sure…

its perhaps something very simple… and obvious …

to the person who knows…

… included u in this because I am hoping you either know this or know a plant pathologist… please help
I am now very curious to know this …

The entire thing ma’am. The structure starting from the point where it emerged from the liana vertically downwards (in the first attached photo, there is a close up of this) crumbled immediately. They were definitely growing downwards from the liana.

and no ma’am. No chance of us going back there soon. May be once the monsoon sets, we might make a trip there. It is slightly expensive, getting into the evergreen patch of forest within the sanctuary.

And as far as I could tell, the area was a pure, pristine forest. No sign of any fire.

Well … all we can do is wait for some one knowledgeable to look at the case

nothing to do but wait

the additional facts has me more intrigued

i cant stay still…  I run to my favourite.. he is so generous with  all he has on the internet…    found my favorite undergrad teacher Dr Wayne Armstrong’s write ups on lichens
there are these flat lichen that can be thin curly etc and can climb up and down rock faces and stuff…

take a look

and lichen is item number 14 on this page of his

I love your persistence and curiosity.
To me they look like roots, long since rotten and dried up. I am asking knowledgeable friends.

This is Bidaria cuspidata var stenoloba, Asclepiadaceae, a liana of evergreen forests in south India.

Hanging structures are old decomposed stems

SO the rotten aerial roots crumble like what anurag described?
and the flaky ash colored stuff? is that root bark? and what cause such rotting?

Yes! I’ve seen this too. Though for the species I’m not qualified to say.

Deep furrows on the bark help white ants to deposit camouflaged protective cover of ground material such as soil flakes or may be ash also. They can climb trees safely from getting picked up by the predators.

aaaah! i have seen the termites (white ants) do funny things even in a small garden plant stem core

this is a definite possiblity

thanks, …

Thank you very much … This is very very interesting.


A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon – Index to, Volumes 1-14 edited by M. D. Dassanayake, W. D. Clayton (2003) 
Biodiversity in India, Volume 2 By T. Pullaiah (2003) 

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