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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

Hanky Bush  
  A plant with leaves grown to resemble common, multipurpose tissues.  

In the novel, genetic engineers modified existing plants and animal to serve common needs in an easier, more natural way.

"Ah, Andy," she said. "You need to blow. And look what I've got right here."

She opened the bag she carried to a plant of dark green leaves alternated with white oblongs. One of the latter she picked and held to Andy's nose. "Blow!" The boy obliged, laughed, and cried, "A hanky bush!"

"Right." She looked at her husband. "Something new. They're working on more productive versions for the kitchen and the bathroom."

From Sparrowhawk, by Thomas A. Easton.
Published by Ace Books in 1990
Additional resources -

Banana leaves are also large; they can be used as "paper plates" for serving food. In the Philippines, palm leaves were used as a permanent writing medium.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Sparrowhawk
  More Ideas and Technology by Thomas A. Easton
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  Tech news articles related to works by Thomas A. Easton

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