About rattan and difference between rattan and bamboo plants

The theme for this week’s photo challenge at the WordPress Daily Post — WRONG — is a tough one!  I settled on my rattan photos.

Rattan (Calamus) is sometimes mistaken for bamboo.  There is a big difference — bamboos are in the grass family of plants, and rattans are among the hundreds of types of palm plants.

Rattan canes are solid, while bamboos are hollow.  Both plants are used for making furniture, and strips of bamboo and rattan are also woven into wicker baskets and other handicrafts.  Wicker is the generic term for a woven fiber (usually natural plants), woven into functional items.

My sister and I bought some rattan rocking chairs for our mother while in the Philippines, and I took these photos of rattan plants.  I  took a few shots focused on the rattan spikes.

What is wrong with this rattan?

Rattan – Calamus, Philippines

It may be obvious to you now, but at the time, I did not notice that it had been hacked into, until I downloaded the photos.  I thought…oh no..my detail shot is marred and the palm was cut (though I thought it was good that it continued to grow).

Upon cropping and looking at it closer…it looks like only the leaf frond / branch was cut.  So it was I — who was wrong!

Like many situations in life, sometimes we need to take a closer look to really SEE something, right?

Close up of spikes – Rattan palm. Rattans have spikes to help it climb over other plants — like vines — and to deter animals from eating the plant.

So….the rattan palm continues on its growth and travel upwards.

Some rattan can grow over 150 feet! Can you follow the source of this rattan….from the top left corner to the bottom right, leading to the half-constructed “Nipa” Hut?

Fresh strips of rattan

Rattan canes and strips, stored in the ceiling area of the workshop — I love the pattern of the ceiling, from the woven palm leaves.

Kitty napping on a well-used, woven rattan chair.

Rattan Seedlings – propagation of rattan is only possible from fresh seeds.

Most of the world’s rattan grow in Indonesia, followed by the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Bangladesh.  Rattans help the overall ecosystem of forests, and unsustainable harvesting can be a problem.

We noted — at least in the area where we bought the rocking chairs — locals working with government programs to replant rattan in the area, and to help create a future plant and material source for the local handicraft industry.

8 thoughts on “About rattan and difference between rattan and bamboo plants

    • Thanks, Jean. I think I am missing some great photo opportunities by not looking UP more — this was an accident as my focus was on the rattan poles and strips. I am training myself to look for more details.

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