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close this bookTrees and their Management (IIRR, 1992, 195 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMessage
View the documentProceedings of the workshop
View the documentList of participants
View the documentCurrent program thrusts in upland development
View the documentTrees and their management
View the documentSustainable agroforest land technology (Salt-3)
View the documentOutplanting seedlings
View the documentTree pruning and care
View the documentBagging of young fruits
View the documentEstablishing bamboo farms
View the documentPhilippine bamboo species: Their characteristics, uses and propagation
View the documentGrowing rattan
View the documentGrowing anahaw
View the documentGrowing buri
View the documentShelterbelts
View the documentBank stabilization
View the documentAssessing the usefulness of indigenous and locally adapted trees for agroforestry
View the documentA guide for the inventory, identification and screening of native plant species with potential for agroforestry
View the documentFruit trees for harsh environments
View the documentCitrus production
View the documentJackfruit production
View the documentMango production
View the documentMiddle to high understory shade tolerant crops
View the documentLow understory shade-tolerant crops
View the documentConserving available fuelwood

Growing rattan

Rattan is a non-timber resource of the Philippine forest. It is the mainstay of a thriving furniture industry which generated an export value of $186.5 million in 1989. Rattan shared about 70 percent of this export amounting to US $138 million.

Rattan is a potential crop for agroforestry projects. As a projects crop, it has some advantages over other perennials of economic value. It can be planted in communal tree farms where other forest trees of commercial value, with 25-35 years rotation, have been planted. The required permanent crops, such as forest trees and fruit trees, for an upland agroforestry development can serve as the support crop for rattan. The integration of rattan plant in a community forest or any tree farm can add to land productivity. Also, while waiting for the harvest of rattan, protection and conservation of watershed areas can be enhanced.

Like other ornamental palms, rattan belongs to the Palmae family. Aside from the manufacture of fumiture, for which it is noted internationally and locally, rattan is used for making fish traps, sleeping mats, baskets, twines, toothbrushes and even the skirts of women of some tribal groups.


There are about 90 rattans found in the country. They belong to four genera, namely: Calamus, Daemonorops, Korthalsia and Plectocomia. In commerce, there are 12 known taxa noted for its economic value. They are grouped as clustering or clump-forming and solitary types. The clustering type regenerates by itself. After the mature canes are gathered, there are a number of suckers left which when properly protected and properly raised can also be harvested later. The solitary type is also commercially valuable. However, after harvesting, there is a need to renew the planting.

Clustering, solitary

The choice of species will depend on the end-product a farmer wishes to produce. Rattan can be raised for the production of canes or poles and for its edible fruits. For pole production, it will take 11-15 years before the first pole can be harvested. On the other hand, a seven-year old rattan can bear its first fruits (in case of lituko, Calamus manillensis).

The planting technology for the clump-forming type

The planting technology for the clump-forming type, such as palasan and limuran, is already available.







Calamus merrillii

Luzon, Palawan, Mindanao, Masbate

furniture food (young shoots)


C. ornatus var. Philippinensis

Luzon, Mindoro, Negros, Mindanao

furniture food (young shoots)


C. caesius




C. filispadix

Palawan, Luzon

Fumiture Basketry


C. microspharion




C. ramulosus




C. reyesianus




C. scipionum




C mindorensis

Luzon, Mindanao



C. manillensis

Luzon, Mindanao

Food (fruits)


C. dimorphacanthus var halconensis

Luzon, Mindoro, Panay Is., Mindanao

Fumiture Basketry


C. javensis




Daemonorops mollis

Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao



Daemono-rops pedicellaris

Leyte, Mindanao



Based on the initial trial on growing rattan, the sites/areas suitable for its growth are the logged-over forests or the residual forests, communal tree farms, reforestation projects and other tree farms not scheduled for harvesting for the next 15 years. Agricultural lands planted with coconut and rubber trees are also potential sites.

Site requirements


1. Soil - Rattan grows best in deep, fertile alluvial soils with high moisture and organic content. The best sites are observed to be either sandy clay or clay loam. Rattan thrives best in soils with pH of five to almost neutral. However, in some areas where soil acidity is high, rattan exhibits fast growth once the forest canopy is opened to allow sunlight to reach outplanted seedlings.

2. Topography and elevation - It has a wide distribution and altitudinal range. In most Asian countries, it can thrive at low to high elevations of 200 to 2900 m above sea level. The topography should not be too steep.

3. Climatic requirements - Rattan grows almost everywhere in the Philippines. Rattan introduction on areas with type II climate (no dry season with very pronounced maximum rain period from November to June) has tremendous advantages over areas within types I and III climates.


The steps involved in the preparation of planting materials from seeds in the nursery are as follows:

1. Seed Collection and Procurement - Ripe fruits can be gathered from August to November.

2. Seed Extraction and Cleaning - Done immediately after fruit harvest. Depulping is done by hand maceration.

3. Pre-germination Treatments by Hilar Removal Hilar removal was found to hasten germination from the former 90 days to 2-3 days.

4. Fungicidal Treatments - Seeds can be soaked overnight in Delsene Mx or Captan at 2.5 q/li of water.

Locate the hilum

5. Germination -- Seeds are sown in wet gunny sacks or in sterilized soil. The development of germinants can be observed 2-3 days after sowing.

6. Transplanting - Germinants are carefully pricked and planted in plastic bags.

7. Fertilization - Complete fertilizer may be applied at a dosage of five to six grams per pot.

8. Watering and Occasional Weeding

9. Root Pruning and Hardening

10. Hauling of Seedlings to the Plantation Site

Germination process

Rattan planting stocks can be raised

Rattan planting stocks can be raised through collections of wildlings -- natural germinants found on forest floors. When properly earth-balled and transported, wildlings can be directly planted in the desired plantation site. Otherwise, wildlings should be raised in plastic bags in the nursery. The wildlings or seedlings are ready for outplanting when they reach a height of 30 cm. Through tissue culture, rattan explants can also be used.

Below are the illustrations of Palasan and Limuran for reference. (A)

Below are the illustrations of Palasan and Limuran for reference. (B)


1. Sib Preparation - Clearing, hole digging and staking

2. Outplanting - Removal of plastic bag without breaking the ball of earth. Rattans can be planted at a density of 400 plants/hectare.

3. Maintenance and Protection -- Weeding, replanting and fertilization

4. Opening of the canopy -- Done to allow adequate sunlight by removing branches.

5. Mulching -- For areas with prolonged dry spells.


Based on research studies and observations, Palasan and Limuran exhibit a grass stage for approximately three years. When the climbing organs (flagellum or cirrus) develop, the canes grow at the average rate of 0.70 m per year. Considering this annual cane growth, at least two four-meter poles of merchantable canes can be harvested from every plant on the 15th year. A four-meter pole of 1 inch diameter can be sold for P15.


Mature canes can be harvested manually with the use of a bolo. Once the cane is cut, it is pulled manually to attain as much merchantable length as possible. The thorny leafsheath is removed by bolo or by rubbing the stem against a tree. Cleaned canes are cut into four-meter length and then bundled.