Key to the Species
l a. Leaf tip ending in a cirrus. …….. C. nagbettai
I b. Leaf tip not ending in a cirrus .… 2
2a. Leaf sheath basal flagella prolonged to shoots ….. C. lacciferus
2b. Leaf sheath basal flagella not prolonged to shoots …… 3
3a. Leaflets and fruits oblong ……. C. vattayila
3b. Leaflets and fruits not oblong .… 4
4a. Leaflets grouped …….. 5
4b. Leaflets not grouped. …..… 7
5a. Mouth of the leaf sheath with minute bristles like spines …….. C. brandisii
5b. Mouth of the leaf sheath without bristles like spines ……. 6
6a. Primary sheath partly laminar, stem less than l cm diameter ……. C.  travancoricus
6b. Primary sheath not laminar, stem above l cm in diameter. …….. C. thwaitesii
7a. Leaf sheath spines numerous and heavily armed …….. 8
7b. Leaf sheath spines few, one to three ……. C shendurunii
8a. Stem with sheath to l cm in diameter …… 9
8b. Stem with sheath more than 1 cm in diameter …. 10
9a. Leaf sheath spines black tipped, rachis of younger parts covered with greyish pubescence ….. C. metzianus
9b. Leaf sheath, rachis and inflorescence axis glabrous ……… C. rotang
10a. Leaf sheath with tomentum, mouth of the leaf sheath with longer flat like spines … 11
lob. Leaf sheath without tomentum, mouth of the leaf sheath without longer flat like spines ……….. 14
1 l a. Fruit black colour, scales flattened ……….. C. huegelianus
1 lb. Fruit not black, scales not flattened ………. 12
12a. Mouth of the leaf sheath with longer 16 cm flat spines ……. C. hookerianus
12b. Mouth of the leaf sheath without long, flat spines ……. 13
13a. Petiole and rachis with needle like spines, fruit yellow ……. C. pseudotenuis
13b. Petiole and rachis with slender spines, fruit violet ….. C. karnatakensis
14a. Leaf sheath inner part red colour, seed surface irregularly pitted …… C. lakshmanae
14b. Leaf sheath inner part not red colour, seed surface smooth ……… 15
15a. Leaflet cilia 2 cm long, sheath light green …… C. dransfieldii
15b. Leaflet cilia 1 cm long, sheath not light green ….. 16
16a. Leaf sheath when cut, exudate milky latex …… C. prasinus
16b. Leaf sheath when cut does not exudates milky latex ……17
17 a. Leaflet margins closely spinulous, spinules more spreading. …………. C. delessertianus
17b. Leaflet margin remotely spinulous, cilia not spreading ……. 18
18a. Fruit ovoid, deeply channeled in the middle. ….… C. gamblei
18b. Fruit oblate, faintly channeled in the middle …….. C. neelagiricus


FIELD IDENTIFICATION KEY FOR RATTANS OF KERALA (pdf)- by C. renuka (2000)- 34 pages.



Calamus andamanicus Kurz (Images by E S Santhosh Kumar (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))


Calamus flagellum Griff. ex Walp. ? (Assam to S. China and Indo-China: Assam, Bangladesh, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam as per POWO)


Calamus floribundus Griff. (Images by Rakesh (Id by Pravir Deshmukh) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))


Calamus guruba Buch.-Ham. ex Mart. (NE. India to Bangladesh: Assam, Bangladesh, East Himalaya, India as per POWO)

Calamus inermis T.Anderson (Assam to China (Yunnan) and Indo-China: Assam, Bangladesh, China South-Central, East Himalaya, Hainan, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam as per POWO)


Calamus latifolius or Calamus inermis ?


Calamus latifolius Roxb.? (E. Nepal to Indo-China and Peninsula Malaysia: Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Himalaya, Laos, Malaya, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicobar Is., Thailand, Vietnam as per POWO)


Calamus melanochaetes (Blume) Miq. (E. Himalaya to Taiwan and Philippines (Palawan), New Guinea (Kep. Aru): Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Hainan, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Myanmar, New Guinea, Philippines, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam as per POWO)

Calamus metzianus Schltdl. ? (Images by B. Rathinasabapathy (Id suggestion by Giby Kuriakose) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))


Calamus nagbettai R.R.Fernald & Dey (Images by B. Rathinasabapathy (Id by Andrew Henderson) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))


Calamus tenuis Roxb. (Images by D S RawatN Arun & Aarti S Khale (Id by Pankaj Kumar) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))


Calamus vattayila Renuka (Images by E S Santhosh Kumar (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))


Calamus viminalis Willd. (Images by Aarti S Khale & Paresh V Churi (Both Ids by Andrew Henderson) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links))

Calamus species- Bethlehem, Mizoram

Calamus species- Hmuifang, Mizoram


Karthikeyan et al. (1989) have mentioned following species of Calamus in India:
  1. Calamus acanthospathus Griff.
  2. C. andamanicus Kurz
  3. C. brandisii Becc. & Hook.f.
  4. C. delesssertianus Becc.
  5. C. dilaceratus Becc.
  6. C. dransfieldii Renuka
  7. C. erectus Roxb.
  8. C. flagellum Griff. ex Mart.
  9. C. floribundus Griff.
  10. C. gamblei Becc.
  11. C. gracilis Roxb.
  12. C. guruba Buch.-Ham. ex Mart.
  13. C. helferianus Kurz [synonym of Calamus oxleyanus Teijsm. & Binn. ex Miq.]
  14. C. hookerianus Becc.
  15. C. huegelianus Mart. [synonym of Calamus wightii Griff.]
  16. C. inermis T.Ander. [synonym of Calamus nambariensis Becc.]
  17. C. khasianus Becc. [synonym of  Calamus nambariensis Becc.]
  18. C. kingianus Becc.
  19. C. latifolius Roxb.
  20. C. leptospadix Griff.
  21. C. longisetus Griff.
  22. C. metzianus Schlecht.
  23. C. nagbettai Fernandez & Dey
  24. C. nambariansis Becc.
  25. C. nicobaricus Becc. & Hook.f.
  26. C. palustris Griff.
  27. C. pseudo-rivalis Becc.
  28. C. pseudo-tenuis Becc. & Hook.f.
  29. C. quinquenervis Roxb.
  30. C. rheedei Griff.
  31. C. rotang L.
  32. C. tenuis Roxb.
  33. C. thwaitesii Becc. & Hook.f.
  34. C. travancoricus Bedd. ex Becc. & Hook.f.
  35. C. unifarius Wendl.
  36. C. viminalis Willd.

Scrutiny in TPL indicates four as synonyms.

Karthikeyan, S., Jain, S.K., Nayar, M.P. & Sanjappa, M. 1989. Florae Indicae Enumeratio: Monocotyledonae, Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta, pp.16-18

Binomial Habit Notes Ref. Distrib.
Beccari ex Beccari & Hook
Shrub Western Ghats,
Evergreen Forests
Flora of Tamil
Nadu, VOL. III, 1989
Kanniya kumari,
Calamus gamblei Beccari ex Becari &
Hook. var. gamblei 
Shrub Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. III, 1989
Dindigul, Nilgiri
Calamus gamblei Beccari ex Beccari &
Hook. var. sphaerocarpa
Beccari ex Fischer
Shrub Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. III, 1989; Fischer, 1931
Calamus huegelianus Mart. is a synonym of Calamus wightii Griff. Climber Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. III, 1989
Calamus pseudo-tenuis Beccari ex Beccari
& Hook
Climber Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. III, 1989
Dindigul, Kanniya kumari,  Nilgiri,
Calamus rheedii Griff Shrub Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. III, 1989; Gamble & Fischer, 1957
Calamus rotang L.  Climber Dry
Evergreen to Moist Deciduous Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. III, 1989
Calamus travancoricus L. Climber Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. III, 1989; Gamble & Fischer, 1957



Botanical name Synonyms Family Common name
Calamus pseudotenuis Calamus pseudo-tenuis ? Arecaceae Slender Rattan Cane
Calamus thwaitesii Arecaceae Rattan Cane





Canes are distributed in the evergreen, semievergreen and moist deciduous forests of Western Ghats. From Kerala nine species of Calamus (C. brandisii Becc., C. gamblei Becc., C. hookerianus Becc., C huegelianus Mart., C. pseudotenuis Becc., C. rheedii Griff, C. rotang Linn. C. thwaitesii Becc. and C. travancoricus Bedd.) have been reported earlier. An extensive field survey during the present study has added four more species to this list. C. metzianus Schlecht. is a new record, while, C. dransfieldii Renuka and C. vattayila Renuka are new species. Thefourth one could not be assigned to any species in the absence of flowering and fruiting materials On the other hand, C. rheedii, C. huegelianus and C. brandisii reported to occur in Kerala could not be relocated. Thus the canes in Kerala are represented by 10 species as listed in Table 1. In addition to the species, an individual of a Malayan species, C. caesius B1. introduced to Kerala, is found in the Kodanad Forest Rest House Compound.

Rattan species richness and population genetic structure of Calamus flagellum in North-Eastern Himalaya, India by N. LYNGDOH, S. H. SANTOSH, B. T. RAMESHA, M. NAGESWARA RAO, G. RAVIKANTH, B. NARAYANI, K. N. GANESHAIAH and R. UMA SHAANKER- J. Bamboo and Rattan, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 293–307 (2005)- VSP 2005.
Abstract—Rattans, the climbing palms, are one of the most important non-wood forest produce supporting the livelihood of many forest dwelling communities in India. However, extensive harvest, loss of habitat and poor regeneration has resulted in dwindling of rattan populations necessitating an urgent need to conserve the existing rattan genetic resources. In this study, using GIS tools, an attempt has been made to develop species richness maps of rattans in the North-Eastern Himalaya, a megadiversity region in India. At least four sites of extremely high species richness were identified that could be prioritized for in situ conservation. Further, using molecular tools, genetic variability was assessed in six populations of an economically important rattan, Calamus flagellum. The population that was least disturbed or harvested maintained comparatively higher levels of genetic diversity than those that were disturbed. The study, perhaps the first in the region, emphasizes the need for developing strategies for the long-term conservation of rattans in the North-Eastern Himalaya.  

Economically important rattans of North East India
Species- Distribution- Uses
C. acanthospathus– Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland- Ropes, cables for suspension bridges, walking sticks, baskets. Thicker canes used for umbrella handles, polo sticks and furniture frames
C. erectus– West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh- Leaves used for roofing
C. flagellum– Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya- Baskets, Tender shoots are edible
C. floribundus– Assam, Khasi Hills and Silhet- Coal baskets for railways
C. guruba– North Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya- Slender cane of 0.6–0.8 cm diameter for multipurpose use
C. inermis–  North Bengal and Sikkim- Furniture and bridge making
C. latifolius– Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya- Walking sticks, umbrella
handles baskets. One of the most beautiful rattans in India
C. leptospadix– Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur- Basket making
C. tenuis– All north eastern states of India except Sikkim and Mizoram- Basket making, furniture and
chair seats
C. viminalis– West Bengal and Sikkim Thicker canes used for umbrella handles, polo sticks, furniture frames and walking sticks
D. jenkinsianus– All except Nagaland and Manipur- Long and soft canes used for basket making, crooks of
umbrella handles
Plectocomia himalayana–  North Bengal and Sikkim- between 1200 and 2200 m- Basket making, cordage and
crooks of umbrella handles

Studies on the Status of some Species of Rattans (Calamus spp.) in the forests of Western Ghats of Karnataka, India by P. Rama Bhat, H. Soorya Prakash Shenoy, K. M. Kaveriappa- Indian Forester Volume 135, Issue 4, April 2009-
Abstract– The rattans of Peninsular India belong to only one genus namely Calamus and 21 species. Twenty species occurring in Western Ghats forests are reported here. The status of C. delessertianus and C. rheedei is uncertain while 15 species are endemic to Western Ghats. Among the five states falling within the Western Ghats, Karnataka has the maximum 13 Calamus species, of which 11 were endemic to the Western Ghats. Three species namely, C. lacciferus, C. lakshmanae and C. prasinus were restricted only to Karnataka region of the Western Ghats. Among the 13 species of Calamus occurring in Karnataka, 12 were found in Kodagu District. Studies were undertaken to determine the status of rattans in some canerich forests of Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka by belt transect method. The study has revealed that Sampaje, Karike and Makut in Kodagu District, Subramanya and Charmadi in Dakshina Kannada District and Anantavadi (Honnavar) in Uttara Kannada District were rich in some species of rattans including those endemic to the Western Ghats. The population of C. lakshmanae and C. prasinus (restricted only to Karnataka) was high in Sampaje and Karike forest respectively, however, C. stoloniferus (restricted to Karnataka and Maharashtra) was very high in Makut forest of Kodagu District. In Dakshina Kannada District C. nagabettai was well distributed in about 25 km radius around Subramanya, while Charmadi area has a rich population of C. thwaitesii and fairly good representations of C. prasinus, C. pseudotenuis and C. nagabettai. The population density of C. karnatakensis (restricted to Karnataka and Goa) was very high in Anantavadi forests near Honnavar.

A revision of Calamus (Arecaceae, Calamoideae, Calameae, Calaminae)– ANDREW HENDERSON- Phytotaxa Vol. 445 No. 1: 25 May 2020:

Abstract- A revision of Calamus was carried out based on morphological data. Eight thousand, six hundred and thirty-three herbarium specimens were examined and scored for 14 quantitative and 157 qualitative variables. Application of the Phylogenetic Species Concept to 516 preliminary species of Calamus resulted in recognition of 411 phylogenetic species. Of these, 38 are recognized as new (C. barisanensis, C. brevissimus, C. brunneus, C. calciphilus, C. densifloropsis, C. disjunctus, C. divergens, C. exiguus, C. furvus, C. gaharuensis, C. goramensis, C. heteracanthopsis, C. hosensis, C. impressus, C. insolitus, C. insularis, C. johanis, C. kinabaluensis, C. kubahensis, C. latus, C. lengguanii, C. lobatus, C. notabilis, C. obiensis, C. oresbiopsis, C. oxleyoides, C. pahangensis, C. powlingii, C. saltuensis, C. seropakensis, C. spinosus, C. sulawesiensis, C. tambingensis, C. tapanensis, C. trigynus, C. vinaceus, C. viridis, C. wedaensis). Analysis of quantitative variables and geographic distributions resulted in the division of 11 species into 36 subspecies. Eight species were considered to be ochlospecies (C. erioacanthus, C. inermis, C. javensis, C. melanochaetes, C. micranthus, C. moseleyanus, C. plicatus, C. siphonospathus). Nomenclature, descriptions, and distribution maps are provided for all species. Images of the type specimens of all new species are provided as well as images of most qualitative variables. One hundred and forty–three species are illustrated with images from living plants.

Rattan: Current Research Issues And Prospects For Conservation And … By John Et Al Eds Dransfield (2007)- Details (of all species over the world)


Palms of Southern Asia By Andrew Henderson (2009)- Details with keys


Rattans (canes) in India: A Monographic Revision by Shyamal K. Basu – Rattan Information Centre, Forest Research Institute, 1992 – Rattan palms141 pages


Forest Plants of Eastern India By Amal Bhusan Chaudhuri (1993)- Brief details with keys- p.551-
Calamus brandisii Becc. – Indeterminate- Karnataka, Kerala & Tamilnadu
Calamus huegelianus MART, (is a synonym of Calamus wightii Griff.) – Rare- Tamilnadu
C. inermis T.Ander. [synonym of Calamus nambariensis Becc.]- Vulnerable- Sikkim & West Bengal & Bhutan


Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary edited by C.P. Khare (2007)- Details- p. 110-

Calamus fasciculatus Roxb. is a synonym of Calamus viminalis Willd.
Calamus helferianus Kurzis a synonym of Calamus oxleyanus Teijsm. & Binn. ex Miq.
Calamus humilis a synonym of Calamus latifolius Roxb.
Calamus hypoleucus Kurz
C. inermis T.Ander. [synonym of Calamus nambariensis Becc.]


Gardening in India By George Marshall Woodrow, G Marshall (1999)- Brief details-
Calamus palembanicus (Blume) a synonym of Daemonorops palembanica Blume


I have added list of Indian species of Calamus (Arecaceae) in eFI based on Karthikeyan et al. (1989). It is not an updated account and some more species have also been added to it. Lacking authentic references I have provided the list as such.

Thanks a lot, …

Calamus ‎(Arecaceae‎) : 1 post by 1 author.

I have updated eFI (efloraofindia) page on Calamus (Pl. click).

Attempts have been made to incorporate most of the species available in India & nearby areas with details & keys directly or through links as far as possible. It’s quite possible that there may be some discrepancy in the accepted names & synonyms taken from other links.

Species discussed so far in efloraofindia are given at the bottom of the page in the form of links against Subpages. On clicking them one can see all the details.

If someone can provide complete list of Indian species with source references it will be wonderful.

Any comments/ corrections are welcome.


Pl. go through Calamus page (‎‎‎‎‎Arecaceae) with images of species in efloraofindia (done by me).

If you find any mis-identification, pl. let us know.
If anybody can send images of other species of this genera (for incorporation in the website), it will be really nice. Also, if anybody is interested to take up the activity of inserting images on efloraofindia pages from efloraofindia posts, pl. let us know.


Rattan & Cane : 2 posts by 2 authors.
I was engaged with regular botanical work and suddenly came across the words  “Rattan & Cane” and I started getting confused with these words, so requesting you please provide a clear insight on this topic!

I guess it means a joint word meaning the stem of various climbing palms of the
genus Calamus and related genera used to make wickerwork and
furniture and canes