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>A Plant Post. Calamus – common name Rattan – A Hiatus Repost


I am a Hortic so there had to be a plant post in this hiatus series and what could be more appropriate than the source of most of our canes. Original post HERE.

The picture above is of a finished Rattan Cane as available from Stockroom

Below is a young Calamus Gibbsianus. The picture comes from Flickr.

Left is the stem of an adult Calamus. Also from Flickr.

Now I thought I would be clever and write a plant profile that is relevant to both Spankos and Hortics. The problem is that I have never worked with this plant and thought that I could punch Rattan into a search engine and get the relevant info WRONG.

What I found was that there are over 600 different varieties of Calamus and nobody seems to be too sure which one Rattan Canes are made of.

This is what I found out.

Calamus grows all the way from southern India and Sri lanca right across South East Asia in damp rain forest conditions. It is a type of Palm and starts life as as a free growing plant on the rain forest floor until it reaches about one and a half meters, similar to the Calamus gibbsianus pictured above right. Once it reaches this height it starts to develop spines, as in the picture on the left and uses these to scramble up the surrounding vegetation. It is not Farmed or cultivated commercially but is gathered from the wild.

Some variates are also known by the common name Sweet Flag and the aromatic roots are used in both herbal medicines and aromatherapy.

If anybody knows how it gets from its raw state to a harsh toy please do tell.


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