Calamus mindorensis (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Calamus mindorensis Beccari

Protologue: Philipp. J. Sci. 2: 235 (1907).
Family: Palmae
Chromosome number: 2n= unknown

Vernacular names

  • Philippines: tumalim (Tagalog), tumaram (Bikol).

Origin and geographic distribution

C. mindorensis is endemic to the Philippines and is found in Laguna and Quezon provinces in Luzon, Mindoro, and Agusan, Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon provinces in Mindanao.


C. mindorensis is one of the popular largediameter rattan canes in the Philippines. Unsplit stems are used mainly for furniture. The stems are also split and made into baskets, cordage or used to thatch houses. == Production and international trade ==

Tumalim is sold both locally and internationally as rattan poles.


C. mindorensis is one of the commercial rattans in the Philippines. Under the Philippine government's classification and grading of rattan system, it is registered under the trade name "tumalim", and is characterized as having a stem diameter 1525 mm and a general colour of light cream to cream. The general requirement for commercial "tumalim"is that its moisture content should be from 1220%, minimum length 4 m, diameter at small ends 1530 mm, and its stem colour light cream to cream.


Rather robust and high climbing, solitary rattan. Stem without leafsheaths 1525 mm, with sheaths 4050 mm in diameter. Leaf large, about 2 m long; leafsheath woody, greenish, very thinly covered when young with grey indumentum; knee conspicuous, feebly armed with very small, scattered, 34 mm long, horizontal spines; ocrea very short; petiole very short, 3 cm broad, armed along the margins with rather stout, straight spines; rachis in the intermediate portion obtusely 3angled, armed underneath at the base with rather few, solitary, blacktipped spines; cirrus very robust and strongly clawed; leaflets numerous, up to about 50, equidistant, rather rigidly papery, slightly paler underneath, narrowly ellipticallanceolate, intermediate leaflets 4547 cm×4.55 cm, the lower ones smaller, and proportionately narrower. Male inflorescence 2 m long, branching to 3 orders; primary bracts thinly coriaceous, greenishyellow, tubular, tightly sheathing and smooth; partial inflorescences flexuous, long and slender, up to 1.2 m long, with about 12 branches distichously inserted on each side; secondary bracts tubular, tightly sheathing, 34 cm long, smooth, entire, truncate, also ciliate at the mouth, and prolonged at one side into a triangular point; rachillae arched to 2 cm long, bearing about 20 flowers on each side; flower bud 2.53 mm long, cylindrical. Female inflorescence similar but branched to 2 orders; partial inflorescence 4050 cm long with 1012 rachillae on each side; secondary bracts narrowly tubular, unarmed; rachillae (when bearing the fruit) spreading or horizontal, with a distinct axillary callus, 1012 cm long with 20 to 22 distichous flowers on each side. Fruiting perianth shortly but distinctly stalked. Fruit small, spherical, 6.5 mm in diameter, with stout beak; scales in 1820 vertical rows, glossy, convex and not grooved along the centre, dirty strawyellowish. Seed one, small, globose.

Growth and development

Although no detailed study has been done on the growth and development of C. mindorensis is estimated that it would take 810 years from planting before the rattan reaches harvestable size.

Other botanical information

Juvenile plants have distinct whitish indumentum near the shoot apex. The young leafsheath has very few to no spines and is greygreen when fresh, but the knee is welldeveloped, even in the juvenile stage.


C. mindorensis is found mostly in the interior of primary forests at 200500 m altitude. Occasionally it is found at the edge of primary forest or in secondary forest.

Propagation and planting

Propagation of C. mindorensis is best from seeds. A preliminary attempt to propagate C. mindorensis by means of tissue culture failed.


Little care is needed once the seedlings are established. It is important to weed the area surrounding the seedlings occasionally.

Diseases and pests

C. mindorensis is apparently resistant to diseases and pests in the wild.


As in other largediameter rattans the stem is first pulled down from the canopy. This may require the combined strength of 23 persons. The stem is then cleaned of its thorny leafsheaths by means of a knife. The bare stem is then cut into lengths of 4 m or longer and tied in bundles for transport to the market.

Handling after harvest

After harvest the canes are subjected to various processes to prevent decay or attack by staining fungi. The canes may be airdried, which usually takes 3 to 4 weeks, or may be kilndried in a special drier which usually takes a shorter time. Antistaining chemicals are usually applied to the freshlycut canes.

Genetic resources and breeding

A rattan gene bank has been established at the University of the Philippines campus at Los Baños, Laguna, which includes C. mindorensis . However, there has been no attempt to establish a collection to represent the variation found in the wild.


Some rattan plantations have been developed in the Philippines, many of them less than 10 years old, while others are still in the trial stage. The preferred rattan species for planting include C. mindorensis and C. merrillii Becc. However, there is still no largescale commercial plantation of rattans.


  • Brown, W.H. & Merrill, F.D., 1920. Philippine palms and palm products. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Bulletin 22: 158178.
  • Generalao, M.C., 1981. How to grow rattan. Forest Development Research Institute Howto Series No 1. Forest Research Institute, College, Laguna. 24 pp.
  • Madulid, D.A., 1991. The Philippines: palm utilization and conservation. In: Johnson, D. (Editor): Conservation and utilization of palms in SouthEast Asia. Balkema, Rotterdam & Brookfield. pp. 181226.
  • Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development, 1985. The Philippines recommends for rattan. PCARRD Technical Bulletin Series No 55. 61 pp.
  • Tongacan, A.L., 1985. Proposed Philippine grading rules for unsplit rattan and its derivatives. In: Wong, K.M. & Manokaran, N. (Editors): Proceedings of the rattan seminar, Kuala Lumpur, 24 October 1984. Rattan Information Centre. Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, Kepong. pp. 169178.
  • UmaliGarcia, M., 1985. Tissue culture of some rattan species. In: Wong, K.M. & Manokaran, N. (Editors): Proceedings of the rattan seminar, Kuala Lumpur, 24 October 1984. Rattan Information Centre, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, Kepong. pp. 2331.


D.A. Madulid