Rattan

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Making furniture in Cameroon.
A growing rattan
Base of a clustering rattan palm in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Worker harvesting rattan from an old-growth forest in the Philippines

Rattan (from the Malay rotan) is the name for about 600 species of old world climbing palms. They belong to the subfamily Calamoideae.[1]

Rattan is also known as manila, or malacca, after the ports of Manila and Malacca City, and as manau (from the Malay rotan manau, the trade name for Calamus manan canes in Southeast Asia).[2]

The climbing habit comes with a flexible woody stem, got from a secondary growth. This makes rattan a liana rather than a normal or true wood. It grows much faster than most tropical wood. Rattan canes are one of the world's most valuable non-timber forest products.

'Dragon's blood' is a red resin used in dyes, varnishes and incense. It can come from the fruit of a rattan. Furniture is probably the most widespread use. Many types of weapons have been made from rattan.

References[change | change source]

  1. J Dransfield 2002. General Introduction to Rattan - the biological background to exploitation and the history of rattan research. [1]
  2. Johnson, Dennis V. (2004): Rattan glossary: and compendium glossary with emphasis on Africa. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, p. 22.