Donax canniformis (G. Forster) K. Schumann

Donax canniformis (G. Forster) K. Schumann




Thalia canniformis G. Forster, Donax arundastrum Loureiro, D. grandis (Miq.) Ridley, Donax cannaeformis (G. Forster) Rolfe, Donax parviflorum Ridley.

Vernacular Names


Bemban, bemban ayer, buluh leck (Ke­labit).


Bamban, bamban batu


Bamban (Malay, Javanese, Sun­danese), bangban (Sundanese), moa (Moluccas).


Bamban, banban (Tagalog, Ilokano, Bisaya, Manobo, Sulu, Bukidnon).


Daem run.


Klah, blah, klum (Cen­tral, Surat Thani, Trat).


Dong s[aaj]y.

Geographical Distributions

Donax can­niformis is distributed from India throughout Southeast Asia to southern China, Taiwan and Polynesia. Occasionally, it is also cultivated.


Donax can­niformis is a perennial, stout, tufted rhi­zomatous, erect and shrub-like herb. It is 2-5 m tall, with true, slender and sympodially branching stems.

The leaves are all cauline, sheathed and thin-coriaceous. The sheath is up to 20 cm long. The ligule  is very short. The petiole is 1-2.5 cm long, and thickened into a cylindrical and pulvinus pilose. The blade is broadly ovate to elliptical, measuring 10-45 cm x 4-25 cm, with rounded base, acuminate at apex and appressed-pilose along the midrib. The lateral veins are numerous and parallel.

The inflorescence is terminal on a leafy branch, slender paniculate, measures up to 20 cm long and branched at the base. Some partial inflo­rescences are condensed cymose (spike-like) in the ax­ils of primary bracts. There are 9-11 bracts which are distichous, obo­vate to lance-shaped, measure 2.5-3.5 cm long and caducous. The pedicel is up to 5 mm long and thickened in fruit. Its flow­ers are in pairs. The bracteoles are two per flower pair and they are glandu­lar. There are 3 free sepals, triangular-ovate, measure 3-5 mm long, white and hairless. The petal is tubular and 3-lobed, with tube 8-10 mm long, and linear lobes measuring 1-1.5 cm x 2-3 mm. The staminodes and stamen form a tube 3-4 mm long. There are 2 outer staminodes which are petaloid, subequal, obo­vate, measuring 12-14 mm x 5-6 mm and white, while the 2 inner stamin­odes are unequal and yellowish, where one is the fleshy (cal­lose) staminode, petaloid and measures about 1.5 cm long. In­side at the base of the callose staminode is with a hairy thickened part and emarginated at apex. The other one is a hooded (cucul­late) staminode. It is about 1 cm long, encloses the style and stigma in the hood and bears a broad lateral lobe. There is 1 fertile stamen which measures about 8 mm long with a narrow triangular appendage. The pistil is with a sericeous and 3-celled ovary. The style and stigma are held erect first by the hooded staminode and when re­leased, the upper part springs downwards to form an inverted U while the stigma rests on the cal­lus of the fleshy staminode.

The fruit is spherical to ellip­soid, measures 1-1.5 cm in diametre, dry, indehiscent, nearly smooth, whitish-cream and crowned by the with­ered flower. It is 1-2-seeded. The brown seed is spherical to ellipsoid, measures 7-8 mm in diametre, grooved and warty .

Ecology / Cultivation

In general, Donax can­niformis grows in wet locations, such as swamps and periodically flooded areas. In Southeast Asia, it occurs up to about 1000 m altitude in secondary forests, teak forests and bamboo forests, but also in coconut plantations and near paddy fields.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.17: Fibre plants.