Oncocalamus wrightianus (PROTA)
Oncocalamus wrightianus Hutch. & H.Wendl.
- Protologue: Fl. W. trop. Afr. 2: 391 (1936)
- Family: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Oncocalamus wrightianus is distributed in southern Benin and southern Nigeria.
In Nigeria the split stem is used for making coarse cordage, fine twine, string and thread. In Benin the stem is recorded to be used for making baskets. The base of the leaf sheath is used as a chew stick.
The stems of Oncocalamus species are weak and brittle, and therefore not valued for the production of cane furniture.
Clustering, fine, slender rattan palm, climbing up to 10 m high; stem up to 10 m long, 6–10 mm in diameter without sheaths, 8–15 mm with sheaths, internodes c. 15 cm long. Leaves pinnately compound, juvenile leaves bifid; sheath tubular, striate, white-hairy, moderately to sparsely armed with caducous black spines, often shed and leaving raised, triangular, blister-like scars; knee absent; ocrea horizontally truncate, extending up to 3 cm beyond leaf, armed like sheath; petiole absent or less than 2 cm long; rachis up to 60 cm long, unarmed, distally prolonged into a 35–45 cm long cirrus bearing acanthophylls (leaflets modified into reflexed hooks) up to 18 mm long; leaflets 5–15 on each side of the rachis, composed of 2–4 folds, broadly lanceolate or sigmoid, 10–15 cm × 2–5 cm, apex acute, margin sparsely armed with fine spines, papery. Flowers unknown. Fruit unknown.
Oncocalamus comprises 4 or 5 species and is distributed from southern Benin to northern Angola. Until recently it was considered to consist of a single species, Oncocalamus mannii (H.Wendl.) H.Wendl. Oncocalamus mannii sensu stricto is a slender to moderately sized rattan with stems up to 30 m long and 8–16 mm in diameter (12–28 mm with sheaths). It is distributed in southern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. In the absence of other rattans the stem is used in coarse basketry, but it is rather inflexible and prone to breaking. Oncocalamus tuleyi Sunderl. is a robust rattan with stems up to 30(–50) m long and 13–22 mm in diameter (25–45 mm with sheaths). It occurs in south-eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. In Nigeria the epidermis of the stem is used for tying yams to poles. In Cameroon the base of the leaf sheath is used as a chew-stick. Oncocalamus tuleyi is considered vulnerable.
Oncocalamus wrightianus occurs in swamp forest, savanna forest margins and secondary forest.
Oncocalamus wrightianus is considered an endangered species, but is not yet included as such in the IUCN Red list of threatened species.
Because of the weak and brittle stems, Oncocalamus wrightianus and other Oncocalamus species are much less valued than other African rattans (Calamus, Eremospatha and Laccosperma species). The stems are not suitable for furniture and construction, and they are only occasionally used for basketry and cordage.
- Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (Editors), 2006. Flore analytique du Bénin. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. 1034 pp.
- Sunderland, T.C.H., 2001. The taxonomy, ecology and utilisation of African rattans (Palmae: Calamoideae). PhD Thesis, University College, London, United Kingdom. 359 pp.
- Sunderland, T.C.H., 2007. Field guide to the rattan palms of Africa. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 66 pp.
- Hutchinson, J., 1963. Oncocalamus wrightianus. Kew Bulletin 17: 181.
- Sunderland, T.C.H., 2001. Rattan resources and use in West and Central Africa. Unasylva 52(205): 18–26.
- Sunderland, T.C.H., 2002. Two new species of rattan (Palmae: Calamoideae) from Africa. Journal of Bamboo and Rattan 1(4): 361–369.
- M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
Correct citation of this article
Brink, M., 2011. Oncocalamus wrightianus Hutch. & H.Wendl. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>.
Accessed 12 November 2020.
- See the Prota4U database.