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Useful Tropical Plants

Calamus usitatus

Blanco

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Calamus blancoi Kunth

Calamus brevifrons Mart. ex Walp.

Calamus gracilis Blanco

Calamus haenkeanus Mart.

Calamus meyenianus Schauer

Calamus mollis major Becc.

Calamus mollis palawanicus Becc.

Palmijuncus blancoi (Kunth) Kuntze

Palmijuncus brevifrons (Mart. ex Walp.) Kuntze

Palmijuncus haenkeanus (Mart.) Kuntze

Palmijuncus meyenianus (Schauer) Kuntze

Palmijuncus usitatus (Blanco) Kuntze

Rotang blancoi (Kunth) Baill.

Common Name:

Calamus usitatus
Tawan, Malaysia
Photograph by: John Dransfield
Image credit to Palmweb

General Information

Calamus usitatus is a spiny, evergreen, climbing palm producing a cluster of slender, unbranched stems to about 10 metres tall and around 12mm in diameter[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
,
701
Title
Asean Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://211.114.21.20/tropicalplant/index.jsp
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details, with photos, of many of the plants growing in the tropical forests of southeast Asia. Gives some details of plant uses along with a description of the plant and its range.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for its good quality stems, which are used in basketry[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Used locally, the stems are also sought by collectors who sell them for export[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
This species is present in severely degraded environments, where it is under threat, and also in protected areas. Because of its wide range it is not considered to be under any overall threat and is therefore classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

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

Southeast Asia - Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak), Indonesia (Kalimantan), Philippines

Habitat

Coastal habitats and secondary forest, at low to medium elevations[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Climber
Height8.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Grows best in a warm, sheltered, moist position[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. 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 stems are of good quality and are used for baskets, furniture, handicrafts and for tying[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
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
]. They are apparently fairly durable[
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.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-09-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Calamus+usitatus>

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