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Useful Tropical Plants

Calamus merrillii

Becc.

Arecaceae


This species is closely related to Calamus zollingerii[
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.
].

+ Synonyms

Calamus maximus Blanco

Calamus maximus merrittianus (Becc.) Merr.

Calamus maximus nanga (Becc.) Merr.

Calamus merrittianus Becc.

Palmijuncus maximus Kuntze

Common Name:

Calamus merrillii
The spiny stem
Photograph by: John Dransfield
Image credit to Palmweb
Calamus merrillii Calamus merrillii Calamus merrillii Calamus merrillii Calamus merrillii

General Information

Calamus merrillii is a spiny, evergreen, climbing palm producing a cluster of very large and high climbing, unbranched, stems that can be 50 - 100 metres long. The stems are 25 - 80mm in diameter. Around 10/% of plants only produce a single stem[
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.
,
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.
,
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.
,
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
].
This is the most popular and most sought after rattan cane in the Philippines, the stems being used for a variety of purposes including furniture, weaving and 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.
,
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
]. Plants have been overexploited in the wild, though there has been some replanting in over 5,000 hectares of logged over forest in the Philippines[
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.
]. Local people also encourage the plant to grow around villages, often planting them but then giving them very little aftercare[
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.
].

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 - Philippines

Habitat

Found mostly in the interior of primary forest at low elevations, sometimes ascending to 1,200 metres. Found occasionally at the edges of primary forest or in secondary forest[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Climber
Height40.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Semi-cultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


Grows best in the dappled shade of semi-open forest[
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.
]. Prefrs 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.
].
A fast-growing palm, the stems attain their full length of 15 metres or more after 5 - 8 years[
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.
].
Just before or after planting seedlings of this species, the existing canopy needs to be manipulated to allow for 50% light/shade conditions in order to encourage vigorous growth of the seedlings. Circle-weeding of sthe young plants is done 3 - 4 times a year for up to 3 years. Planting lines need to be kept clean up to a distance of 1 metre on either side to allow for easy access and maintenance[
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.
].
Gatherers cut the cane off above the surface of the ground and pull down the entire stem. The rattan is then stripped of leaves and the cane is cut into convenient lengths, ranging from 3 - 6 metres, which are then bent sharply at the middle and tied into bundles for convenient transportation. The external part may be stripped from the cane in the forest or the entire canes may be transported, depending on how the product is to be used[
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.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - eaten when fully ripe[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The fruit is 11 - 12mm in diameter[
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.
].

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 canes are of excellent quality, being smooth, easy to work, with a high finishing 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 entire stems are used for making 'bent wood' chair frames, as cables for ferry boats, for hauling logs, standing-rigging on small sailing vessels, and sometimes to support short suspension bridges[
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.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
The split canes are used for making mats, hats, baskets, chairs, various types of fish traps, and the bottoms and backs of 'cane-bottomed' chairs[
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.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
The interior parts of the stem, which are softer than the outer part, are used for making 'reed' furniture[
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.
].
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 - the fruits are thoroughly washed to remove the fleshy coat and most seeds are sown in beds. The seedlings are kept in shade and usually potted in plastic bags after some weeks, and watered daily until they attain a height of 20 - 30cm. These are then transplanted to the forest (allowing some light to penetrate through the canopy)[
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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2023-03-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Calamus+merrillii>

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