It has been proposed - William J.Baker; A revised delimitation of the rattan genus Calamus (Arecaceae), Phytotaxa 197 (2): 139-152; 2015 - that the genera Ceratolobus, Daemonorops, Pogonotium and Retispatha should all be subsumed into a revised and expanded concept of the genus Calamus. This revised treatment has been accepted in the 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families' and is likely to recieve further acceptance. For the time being, until there is wider acceptance of this change, we are not moving these species across into Calamus. The new name for this species in Calamus will be Calamus micracanthus Griff.[
Calamus micracanthus Griff.
Daemonorops draconcella Becc.
Palmijuncus micracanthus (Griff.) Kuntze
Rotang micracanthus (Griff.) Baill.
Photograph by: John Dransfield
Image credit to Palmweb
Daemonorops micracantha is a vigorous, climbing, evergreen palm that can produce a cluster of unbranched stems up to 40 metres long[
]. These stems can grow to the very tops of the trees in the rainforest[
The plant has a range of uses, being harvested from the wild for mainly local use as a source of material for basketry and a resin with medicinal applications[
]. This is one of several species supplying the resin, which is sold in local markets and sometimes also traded internationally[
Southeast Asia - Malaya to Borneo.
Lowland forest, near streams, and occasionally in forest transitional with heath forest, up to elevations of 500 metres[
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A plant of lowland moist tropics.
Most species in this genus are more or less vigorous climbing plants in rainforests. In general, they 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[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
The resin obtained from the fruit scales is used as a red flavouring and colouring in non-alcoholic drinks[
The resin was formerly valued as a medicine in Europe because of its astringent properties, though it is little used there at present[
The resin is astringent and stimulant[
]. Internally, it is used to alleviate chest pains, post-partum bleeding, internal traumas, and menstrual irregularities[
The resin is used externally as a wash to further healing and stop bleeding[
]. It has been used in dentifrices and as a mouth wash[
Dragon’s blood is brittle, feebly sweetish or almost tasteless and odourless[
The split cane is locally used for tying[
]. The sheathed stem is about 2cm in diameter[
An orange to red resin, known as 'dragon's blood', is extracted from the fruit scales and leaf sheaths[
]. It is used as dye for textiles, baskets, varnishes, toothpastes, tinctures, and plasters for dyeing horns to imitate tortoise shells. It is also used in varnishes and lacquers, especially on violins, where it gives a mahogany-like stain; and in photo engraving on zinc, where it protects the metal parts that are not to be etched[
Extraction of the resin can be by dry or wet methods. Dry extraction is done by sun-drying the collected fruits and then crushing them. The resulting resin is screened and flushed with hot water to form a batter. The resin is turned into granules, sticks and powder[
]. Alternatively, the fruits are first dried and the resin then removed by rubbing the fruit with cockle shells[
]. The resin so collected is processed by wrapping in a cloth, dampening in hot water and then being squeezed[
The best dragon blood comes in cylinder form of 30 - 35cm in length and 20 - 25mm in thickness and when dissolved in alcohol the residue content is below 9%[
For wet-extraction, the crushed fruits are boiled in water, but the dyes extracted in this way are of inferior quality[
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