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Useful Tropical Plants

Calamus erinaceus

(Becc.) J.Dransf.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Calamus aqautilis Ridl.

Daemonorops erinacea Becc.

Common Name: Rattan

Calamus erinaceus
Growing plant, looking for support
Photograph by: John Dransfield
Image credit to Palmweb
Calamus erinaceus Calamus erinaceus

General Information

Calamus erinaceus is a spiny, evergreen climbing palm producing a cluster of robust, unbranched stems that can be 20 metres or more long[
334
Title
Flora of Peninsula Malaysia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tfbc.frim.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
In the process of being assembled (15/07/09), it is currently a series of check sheets giving species name, brief description, habitat and high quality photos of the plants.
,
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
,
1019
Title
A Field Guide of the Rattans of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
Khou Eang Hourt
Publisher
World Wildlife Fund
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A draft publication giving an excellent concise guide to the various rattan species growing in Cambodia.
].
The stems are gathered locally for making into baskets etc[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. They are traded locally and have sometimes been exported[
1019
Title
A Field Guide of the Rattans of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
Khou Eang Hourt
Publisher
World Wildlife Fund
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A draft publication giving an excellent concise guide to the various rattan species growing in Cambodia.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.

Range

E. Asia -Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines

Habitat

Backs of mangrove swamps, coastal sand bars[
334
Title
Flora of Peninsula Malaysia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tfbc.frim.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
In the process of being assembled (15/07/09), it is currently a series of check sheets giving species name, brief description, habitat and high quality photos of the plants.
].

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Climber
Height25.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the humid, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 100 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 24 - 32°c, but can tolerate 20 - 37°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,500 - 4,000mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 5,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Grows best with its roots in the shade and its stems growing up into the light[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Plants can tolerate moderate levels of salt in the soil[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.8 - 7.2, tolerating 6.5 - 7.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Most species in this genus are more or less vigorous climbing plants in rainforests. Leaves of young plants are normally damaged if exposed to too much light, though leaves of older plants will usually tolerate full sun. In general, plants are likely to grow best with their roots in the shade but with enough gap in the canopy to encourage their stems to grow up towards the light. They are also likely to grow best in a humus-rich soil[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Many of the species require fairly moist conditions for good growth, in fact several of them grow in wet soils or in areas with seasonal inundation - where we have the information it will be included under the plant’s habitat.
Overhead shade should be manipulated at about 6-monthly intervals for the first 2 - 3 years of a young plant’s life to ensure they receive sufficient light to grow vigorously. About 40 - 50% light penetration is generally considered to be ideal for promoting stem growth.
Little care is needed once the seedlings are established. It is important, however, to weed the area surrounding the seedlings occasionally until the plants are more than 2 metres tall.
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

Although we have no specific information for this species, many members of this genus have potentially edible young shoots. Indeed, in Laos the shoots are considered to be a delicacy and over half the species growing there are said to be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The top 100cm of the plant is used. If the leaf sheaths are left in place until just before cooking then the shoot will remain fresh for up to one week[
984
Title
Speciality Rattans of the ASEAN
Publication
Blumea 54, pp 39 - 43
Author
A. C. Baja-Lapis
Website
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/nhn/blumea
Publisher
National Herbarium, Nederland.
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
A description of the uses and agricultural practices for 11 selected species of rattan.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The long, slender stems are used for weaving into baskets etc[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The canes are durable, but not very flexible; they are 8 - 15mm in diameter[
1019
Title
A Field Guide of the Rattans of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
Khou Eang Hourt
Publisher
World Wildlife Fund
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A draft publication giving an excellent concise guide to the various rattan species growing in Cambodia.
].The canes are sometimes used, though they are often coarse and of medium or low quality[
1018
Title
A Field Guide to Philippine Rattans
Publication
Asia Life Sciences Supplement 5
Author
Aida C. Baja-Lapis
Publisher
Rushing Water Publishers Ltd; Philippines
Year
2010
ISBN
0117-3375
Description
A very useful book with concise information on the various rattan species that grow in the Philippines
].
The long and slender stems of Calamus species are put to various uses according to their size, length, flexibility, elasticity and toughness. The most slender canes are employed entire for binding purposes, and in making chairs, blinds, mats, wicker or basketwork, fishing implements, etc. Twisted together, they make very strong cables. The largest and more resistent canes are used entire as cables, the framework of wicker chairs etc. Usually, however, for many purposes the stems are split throughout their length into 2 - 4 or more strips from which the inner soft brittle and spongy portion is removed by means of a knife or same other instrument, so as to leave the external portion, which is hard, tough, flexible, elastic and has its outer surface very clean and smooth as if it had been varnished[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
].
Strips vary in width according to the use to which they are to be put. Those for delicate work, such as the network of furniture, small bags, hats, etc, are from 1 - 3mm wide; those employed as lashings in native housebuilding or in fastening the removable head of the Malay axe to its handle are from 5-6 mm wide[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
].
Collecting and preparing the stems is very simple. The stem is cut near the ground and detached from the trees by taking a strong hold of its base and thus pulling down the entire plant with its leaves. The most recent growth at the top of the plant is removed and then, handling it from the upper end, the stem is forcibly drawn in the opposite direction between two pieces of wood, thus removing the spiny coverings. It is then cut into lengths of about 5 metres, each piece is bent into two equal parts and the stems are fastened into bundles ready for market. The most valued stems are not thicker than a man's little finger and have a fine polished straw-yellow glassy surface[
983
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta Vol. XI and Appendix
Publication
 
Author
Dr Odoardo Beccari
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
This volume of the journal is dedicated entirely to a monograph of the genus Calamus, which remains an important treatment over 100 years later.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a fairly short viability and is best sown as soon as it is ripe.

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