Author: Jan Scholten
Genus: ± 400 species.
Name: Rattan palms; Rotang.
Region: tropical, subtropical; Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar; Calamus grows also in Africa, Australia.
Use: Malacca cane furniture, baskets, walking-sticks, umbrellas, tables, general wickerwork; canes are sought-after and expensive, often replaced by sticks made from bamboos, rushes and osier willows.
Botany: mostly leaf-climbing lianas with slender, reedy stems; some species have hooks on the underside of the midrib, or more commonly by modified "pinnae" or tendrils in the form of stout, backward-pointing spines; stems may grow to 200 metres long; dioecious; flowers in attractive inflorescences, enclosed by spiny spathes; fruits edible, top-shaped, covered in shiny, reddish-brown imbricate scales, exuding an astringent red resin known medicinally and commercially as "Dragon's blood".