rattan (rătănˈ) [key], name for a number of plants of the genera Calamus, Daemonorops, and Korthalsia climbing palms of tropical Asia, belonging to the family Palmae (palm family). Rattan leaves, unlike those of most palms, are not clustered into a crown; they have long, whiplike barbed tips by which the plant climbs to the tops of trees. From the stem, noted for its extraordinary length (often several hundred feet) is obtained the rattan cane of commerce, a slender, flexible tough cane of uniform diameter, usually split for wickerwork, baskets, and chair seats and left entire for walking sticks, e.g., the Malacca cane. A resin that exudes from the fruit is known commercially as dragon's blood. Rattan plants are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Arecales, family Palmae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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