Rattan
Overview
 
Rattan is the name for the roughly 600 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of palms
Arecaceae
Arecaceae or Palmae , are a family of flowering plants, the only family in the monocot order Arecales. There are roughly 202 currently known genera with around 2600 species, most of which are restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates...

 in the tribe Calameae, native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

.
Most rattans differ from other palms in having slender stems, 2–5 cm diameter, with long internode
Plant stem
A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes, the nodes hold buds which grow into one or more leaves, inflorescence , conifer cones, roots, other stems etc. The internodes distance one node from another...

s between the leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

; also, they are not tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s but are vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

-like, scrambling through and over other vegetation. Rattans are also superficially similar to bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

. Unlike bamboo, rattan stems ("malacca") are solid, and most species need structural support and cannot stand on their own.
Encyclopedia
Rattan is the name for the roughly 600 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of palms
Arecaceae
Arecaceae or Palmae , are a family of flowering plants, the only family in the monocot order Arecales. There are roughly 202 currently known genera with around 2600 species, most of which are restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates...

 in the tribe Calameae, native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

.

Structure

Most rattans differ from other palms in having slender stems, 2–5 cm diameter, with long internode
Plant stem
A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes, the nodes hold buds which grow into one or more leaves, inflorescence , conifer cones, roots, other stems etc. The internodes distance one node from another...

s between the leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

; also, they are not tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s but are vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

-like, scrambling through and over other vegetation. Rattans are also superficially similar to bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

. Unlike bamboo, rattan stems ("malacca") are solid, and most species need structural support and cannot stand on their own. However, some genera (e.g. Metroxylon, Pigafetta, Raphia) are more like typical palms, with stouter, erect trunks. Many rattans have spines
Thorns, spines, and prickles
In botanical morphology, thorns, spines, and prickles are hard structures with sharp, or at least pointed, ends. In spite of this common feature, they differ in their growth and development on the plant; they are modified versions of different plant organs, stems, stipules, leaf veins, or hairs...

 which act as hooks to aid climbing over other plants, and to deter herbivore
Herbivore
Herbivores are organisms that are anatomically and physiologically adapted to eat plant-based foods. Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in...

s. Rattans have been known to grow up to hundreds of metres long. Most (70%) of the world's rattan population exist in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, distributed among Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

, Sumbawa
Sumbawa
Sumbawa is an Indonesian island, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, and Sumba further to the southeast. It is in the province of West Nusa Tenggara....

 islands. The rest of the world's supply comes from the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, Malaysia and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

.

Processing

In forests where rattan grows, its economic value can help protect forest land, by providing an alternative to loggers who forgo timber logging and harvest rattan canes instead. Rattan is much easier to harvest, requires simpler tools and is much easier to transport. It also grows much faster than most tropical wood. This makes it a potential tool in forest maintenance, since it provides a profitable crop that depends on rather than replaces trees. It remains to be seen whether rattan can be as profitable or useful as the alternatives.

Generally, raw rattan is processed into several products to be used as materials in furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 making. The various species of rattan range from several millimetres up to 5–7 cm in diameter. From a strand of rattan, the skin is usually peeled off, to be used as rattan weaving material. The remaining "core" of the rattan can be used for various purposes in furniture making. Rattan is a very good material mainly because it is lightweight, durable, and — to a certain extent — flexible.

Environmental issues

Rattans are threatened with overexploitation, with harvesters cutting stems too young and reducing their ability to resprout.Unsustainable harvest of rattan can lead to forest degradation, affecting overall forest ecosystem services. Processing can also be polluting. The use of toxic chemicals and petrol in the processing of rattan affects soil, air and water resources, and also ultimately people's health. Meanwhile, the conventional way of rattan production is threatening the plant’s long term supply, and the income of workers.

Uses

Rattans are extensively used for making furniture and baskets. When cut into sections, rattan can be used as wood to make furniture. Rattan accepts paint
Paint
Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

s and stain
Stain
A stain is a discoloration that can be clearly distinguished from the surface, material, or medium it is found upon. Stains are caused by the chemical or physical interaction of two dissimilar materials...

s like many other kinds of wood, so it is available in many colours; and it can be worked into many styles. Moreover, the inner core can be separated and worked into wicker
Wicker
Wicker is hard woven fiber formed into a rigid material, usually used for baskets or furniture. Wicker is often made of material of plant origin, but plastic fibers are also used....

.

Due to its durability and resistance to splintering, sections of rattan can be used as staves
Stick fighting
Stick fighting is a generic term for martial arts which use simple long slender, blunt, hand-held, generally wooden 'sticks' for fighting such as a staff, cane, walking stick, baton or similar....

 or canes for martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

 – 70 cm.-long rattan sticks, called baston, are used in Filipino martial arts
Filipino martial arts
Filipino Martial Arts refers to ancient and newer fighting methods devised in the Philippines, the most popular of which are known as Arnis/Eskrima/Kali. The intrinsic need for self-preservation was the genesis of these systems. Throughout the ages, invaders and evolving local conflict imposed new...

, especially Modern Arnis
Modern Arnis
Modern Arnis is the system of Filipino martial arts founded by the late Remy Presas as a self-defense system. His goal was to create an injury-free training method as well as an effective self-defense system in order to preserve the older Arnis systems...

 and Eskrima
Eskrima
Eskrima is the umbrella term for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines, which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons...

. Rattan is generally the only material accepted for the construction of striking weapons in Society for Creative Anachronism
Society for Creative Anachronism
The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century...

 (SCA) martial combat.

For similar reasons it's a common material for the stick used to move the dice while dealing the casino game craps
Craps
Craps is a dice game in which players place wagers on the outcome of the roll, or a series of rolls, of a pair of dice. Players may wager money against each other or a bank...

.

Along with birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 and bamboo, rattan is a common material used for the handles in percussion mallets, especially mallets for keyboard percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 (vibraphone
Vibraphone
The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

, xylophone
Xylophone
The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

, marimba
Marimba
The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys ...

, etc.).

The fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 of some rattans exudes a red resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

 called dragon's blood
Dragon's blood
Dragon's blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The red resin was used in ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye...

. This resin was thought to have medicinal properties in antiquity and was also used as a dye for violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s, among other things. The resin normally results in a wood with a light peach hue.

In early 2010, scientists in Italy announced that rattan wood would be used in a new "wood to bone" process for the production of artificial bone
Artificial bone
Artificial bone refers to bone-like material created in a laboratory that can be used in bone grafts, to replace human bone that was lost due to severe fractures, disease, etc.-Overview:...

. The process takes small pieces of Rattan and places it in a furnace. Calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

 and carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 are added. The wood is then further heated under intense pressure in another oven-like machine and a phosphate solution is introduced. This process produces almost an exact replica of bone material. The process takes about 10 days. At the time of the announcement the bone was being tested in sheep and there had been no signs of rejection. Particles from the sheep's bodies have migrated to the "wood bone" and formed long continuous bones. The new bone-from-wood programme is being funded by the European Union. Implants into humans are anticipated to start in 2015.

The flexibility and durability of rattan canes make them an effective instrument for inflicting disciplinary pain (caning
Caning
Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits with a single cane usually made of rattan, generally applied to the offender's bare or clothed buttocks or hand . Application of a cane to the knuckles or the shoulders has been much less common...

). A rattan 4 ft (1.2 m) long and half an inch thick is used for judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment refers to the infliction of corporal punishment as a result of a sentence by a court of law. The punishment can be flogging, caning, birching, whipping, or strapping...

 in Malaysia
Caning in Malaysia
Caning is form of corporal punishment used in Malaysia. Judicial caning, ordered as part of a criminal sentence imposed by a civil court on a male offender, is the most severe form of caning used in Malaysia and is always combined with a prison sentence for adult offenders.A much less severe form...

, Singapore
Caning in Singapore
Caning is a widely used form of legal corporal punishment in Singapore. It can be divided into several contexts: judicial, military, school, reformatory/prison, and domestic/private....

, and Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

. It is soaked in water before use to make it heavier and even more flexible. This punishment is delivered to the offender's bare buttocks
Buttocks
The buttocks are two rounded portions of the anatomy, located on the posterior of the pelvic region of apes and humans, and many other bipeds or quadrupeds, and comprise a layer of fat superimposed on the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. Physiologically, the buttocks enable weight to...

. It was a rattan (not bamboo, as widely misreported) that was used for the caning of Michael P. Fay
Michael P. Fay
Michael Peter Fay is an American who briefly shot to international notoriety when he was sentenced to caning in Singapore as an 18-year-old in 1994 for theft and vandalism...

 in 1994. It is also used to discipline recalcitrant soldiers in the Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

 (see here).

A somewhat thinner rattan cane was the standard implement for school corporal punishment in England and Wales, and is still used for this purpose in schools in Singapore, Malaysia and several African countries (see here).
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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