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Calamus ovoideus - Thwaites ex Trimen

Common Name Egg-shaped Rattan. Rotan Ovoid
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Well-drained slopes, where it is frequently found in forest gaps and other open sites, in lowland and lower montane rain forest areas below elevations of 1,500 metres[ 310 ].
Range E. Asia - Sri Lanka.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Calamus ovoideus Egg-shaped Rattan. Rotan Ovoid

Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb
Calamus ovoideus Egg-shaped Rattan. Rotan Ovoid
Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb


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Native to Asia, Calamus ovoideus is a large tree that grows up to 14 ft tall. The leaves are pinnate. Young, unfolded leaves are consumed raw or cooked as a vegetable. Smooth, pale brown canes are split and used for weaving baskets; and whole canes for furniture frames. Canes are heavy and durable and yields high quality rattan used in making furniture. Found In: Sri Lanka.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Calamus ovoideus is an evergreen Climber growing to 70 m (229ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Palmijuncus ovoideus (Thwaites ex Trimen) Kuntze

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Very young unfolded leaves are eaten raw or cooked and used as a vegetable[ 46 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Furniture  Wood

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Other Uses The split canes are used for weaving baskets, and whole canes for making furniture frames. Split cane cores are used for less refined woven products[ 310 ]. The plant has a smooth, pale brown cane with diameter of 30 - 50 mm and internode length of 30 cm or more. The inner core is pale with hardly any soft pith. The cane is heavy and durable. It produces very good quality rattan for furniture frames and is well suited for good quality split rattan for basket work. The main factor affecting the quality of the cane is the harvesting of immature canes with high levels of moisture; these canes are apt to shrink and are easily attacked by insects[ 310 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Calamus ovoideus grows in lowland and at lower elevations in the moist tropics where there is an average temperature of 27°c, the annual rainfall is 5,000 mm evenly distributed throughout the year, and there is a relative humidity of 80 - 90%[ 310 ]. Grows best with its roots in the shade but its stems growing up into the light. The plant is found naturally mainly on lateritic soils (a mixture of clayey iron and aluminium oxides and hydroxides) on well-drained slopes[ 310 ]. It grows best in fairly open sites in the forest[ 310 ]. When seedlings are planted in the natural forest, it is advisable to thin the canopy to allow more light, to speed up growth. For seedlings planted in forest plantations where weeds are abundant, patch weeding around the plant to keep it free of undergrowth in the first two years will improve survival. Canopy thinning about two years after transplanting is also recommended[ 310 ] After 12 - 14 months seedling leaves may reach a height of 30 - 50 cm and for 4 years the plant usually remains in a rosette state with seedling leaves reaching 2 metres or more in height. By the 5th year the primary stem starts to develop and the first climbing whips begin to appear. By the 6th year the climbers may have grown up to 6 metres long, and by the 7th year they attain a height of 8 - 10 metres and suckers begin to develop[ 310 ]. Flowers appear to be pollinated by bees and seed dispersal seems to be effected mainly by polecats, civets (Viverridae), fruit bats, giant squirrels and leaf monkeys[ 310 ]. Stems are tugged down from the canopy and the leaf-sheaths pulled off the stem with the help of a knife. Often a considerable part of the cane may be left behind in the canopy. The cane is then cut into lengths of 5 - 10 metres[ 310 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

The seeds must be kept moist until sown because it quickly loses viability if allowed to dry out. Seeds are sown in beds prepared with a mixture of soil and sawdust or a similar loose mixture. This enables germinated seed to be removed easily without damaging the root. Nursery beds are partially shaded to allow plenty of diffuse sunlight. The sown seeds are covered with a thin layer of soil. Deep shade and deep burial of seed tend to delay germination. Seeds begin to germinate between 2.5 - 3.5 months after sowing. The seedlings are potted after the first leaf has emerged. They are then kept in the shade and provided with plenty of moisture. Seedlings are ready for planting at 12 - 14 months; however, survival rates are better when the seedlings are about 16 - 18 months old. Seed collection is tedious as the infructescence may be several meters above the ground and entangled with other vegetation. For fruit collection on a large scale, the infructescence is inserted into a bag and the stalk cut. This prevents the fruits from being scattered on the forest floor. The seeds are extracted by removing the fruit wall and the fleshy seed-coat. A single seed weighs about 1 g. Calamus ovoideus is most effectively propagated from seed. It is difficult to propagate by removal of sucker shoots[ 310 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Egg-shaped Rattan. Rotan Ovoid

Found In: Sri Lanka.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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