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(rătăn`), name for a number of plants of the genera Calamus, Daemonorops, and Korthalsia climbing palms of tropical Asia, belonging to the family Palmae (palmpalm,
common name for members of the Palmae, a large family of chiefly tropical trees, shrubs, and vines. Most species are treelike, characterized by a crown of compound leaves, called fronds, terminating a tall, woody, unbranched stem.
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 family). Rattan leaves, unlike those of most palms, are not clustered into a crown; they have long, whiplike barbed tips by which the plant climbs to the tops of trees. From the stem, noted for its extraordinary length (often several hundred feet) is obtained the rattan cane of commerce, a slender, flexible tough cane of uniform diameter, usually split for wickerwork, baskets, and chair seats and left entire for walking sticks, e.g., the Malacca cane. A resin that exudes from the fruit is known commercially as dragon's blooddragon's blood,
name for a red resin obtained from a number of different plants. It was held by early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs to have medicinal properties; Dioscorides and other early writers described it.
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. Rattan plants are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Arecales, family Palmae.



(also ratan or rotan), a liana of the family Palmae, especially of the genus Calamus and closely related genera (for example, Daemonorops). The slender stems usually measure 3–5 cm in diameter and are very long (reaching 150–180 m or, according to other data, 300 m). The lianas climb with the aid of modified leaves or, sometimes, inflorescences, reaching the crowns of trees in the canopy of tropical rain forests. Some species, such as Calamus arborescens and C. erecta, have erect stems measuring as much as 6 m in height. The leaves are pinnate and end in a long tendril having recurved, claw-like barbs. Sometimes the axis of the inflorescence ends similarly. In some species the axis has been completely transformed into a “whip” clinging to the support, and normally developed inflorescences appear only on the top of the stem. Rattans are usually dioecious plants. The large, ovate fruits are edible in many species.

There are more than 350 rattan species, distributed primarily in tropical Asia. A few species are found in the tropics of Africa and Australia. The best-known species is Calamus rotang. The strong flexible stems of rattan are used in building, furniture-making, and the production of wicker items and boating and fishing gear. Calamus caesius and Calamus leiocaulis are cultivated for such purposes on the Malay Archipelago.


Furtado, C. X. “Palmae Malesicae—XIX. The Genus Calamus in the Malayan Peninsula.” The Gardens’ Bulletin in Singapore, 1956, vol. 15.



Any of several long-stemmed, climbing palms, especially of the genera Calanius and Daemonothops ; stem material is used to make walking sticks, wickerwork, and cordage.


, ratan
1. any of the climbing palms of the genus Calamus and related genera, having tough stems used for wickerwork and canes
2. the stems of such plants collectively
3. a stick made from one of these stems
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