What is rattan?« Back to Questions List

Rattan is a kind of palms that grow on pacific islands and in the tropics of Africa, Asia and Australia. There are around 600 species under rattan. Thin canes used in schools for punishment is one kind of rattan.  It is a type of vine. We know that vines either creep along the ground or climb trees. Depending on the species vines attach themselves to a different support system.  Rattans are different species of palm that use the trunks and crowns of other trees to climb up. 

rattan 1

Rattans have a woody, bamboo like flexible stems. They are similar to bamboos but unlike bamboos they do not have hollow stems but stems with solid core. These stems are very useful in making baskets, furniture and other items. These woody stems are heavily spined at a height of about 4 feet above the ground. These spines help them cling to its support. They don’t grow very tall but to a medium height stretching from tree to tree. 

The stems contain very large quantity of water stored in their stems. In a growing plant, water moves up the stem at a rate of 5 to 6 feet per minute which is faster compared to that of any other plant. Large amounts of drinking water can be obtained by cutting the ends of long stems.



Rattan population is said to be slowly decreasing due to deforestation of tropical rainforests. The majority of rattan palms could be found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Rattan is flexible, durable and lightweight. Rattan is used for various purposes such as furniture making, handicrafts, shelter material etc. peeled off skin of rattan is used as weaving material.


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