Q. What species of plant is "rattan"?
"Rattan" refers to any one of 600 species (in 13 genera) of climbing palms. They are in the Palmae/Arecaceae (subfamily Calamoideae) family. The most common species used commercially are in the genus Calamus. Among other genera of rattan are Daemonorops and Korthalsia. The rattan palms are tropical species found in Africa, Asia, East Indies and Australia. Commercially it is grown mainly in the rain forests of the Indonesian tropics
Rattan canes are used in wickerwork, baskets, and chair seats and also walking sticks, e.g., the Malacca cane. Interestingly, thin rattan canes were the favorite canes used for corporal punishment in schools in England and Wales before corporal punishment was outlawed. Some rattan fruits excrete a red resin (known as “dragon’s blood”) that may be used for medicinal purposes or as a dye.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information
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