Calamus javensis Blume

Calamus javensis Blume




Calamus filiformis Becc.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Rotan lilin (General throughout Peninsular Malaysia), coonk stook (Perak), lempinit ular-ular (Sabah).
Indonesia Rotan opot (Sumatra, Bengkulu), howe cacing (Western Java), rotan lilin (Southern Kalimantan).
Philippines Arorog, arurug (Palawan), rotan cacing (also used for C. heteroideus, C. unifarius and C. viminalis).
Thailand Rote batu, wai tek (Southern), wai kuan (Pattani).

Geographical Distributions

Calamus javensis is widely distributed in Southeast Asia from southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo to Palawan.


C. javensis is a clustering, slender to very slender and dioecious rattan that sometimes forms low thickets that can reach up to 2 m tall and sometimes climbing to 10 m or more.

The stem is without leaf-sheaths and measuring 2-6 mm in diametre while the sheaths measuring up to 10 mm in diametre. The internodes are 30 cm long but usually less.

The leaf is ecirrate, measures up to 40 cm long, very variable in form while the mature leaves are always with a flabellum terminal, which is formed by two apical leaflets that joined along at least 3/4 of the length. The lowermost pair of leaflets is frequently convex and swept back across the stem that encloses a chamber. The leaf-sheath is bright green when fresh, sometimes measures up to 30 cm long but usually less, frequently tinged reddish when young, slightly longitudinally striate with variable armature and varying from unarmed with small horizontal spines. The spines are slender or triangular and rarely exceed 5 mm long. The knee is present. The ocrea is quite conspicuous, tinged deep crimson when young and eventually tattering. The flagellum is up to 75 cm long. The petiole is 1-2 cm long. There are 4-12 leaflets on each side of the rachis, irregularly arranged in groups and rarely regular. The penultimate is very close to the flabellum terminal. The median leaflets are somewhat opposite, exceptionally ovate in outline, measuring 20 cm x 35 cm, with 3 main veins and conspicuous transverse veinlets that shiny green. The young leaves are reddish tinged.

The male and female inflorescences are superficially similar and erect at the base. In the middle is rather curved and eventually pendulous, slender, measures up to 1 m long where each bears 2-5 of the 20 cm long partial inflorescences. Each partial inflorescence is with 2-6 crimson rachillae which measures up to 10 cm long.

The ripe fruit is ovoid to rounded, measuring 12 mm x 8 mm and covered in 15-21 vertical rows of pale greenish-white scales.

The seed is 10 mm long and somewhat angular. The endosperm is homogenous. The seedling-leaf is with 4 broad shiny leaflets.

Ecology / Cultivation

C. javensis is very widespread, occurring from the lowlands to about 2000 m altitude, and is found on a wide range of soils in tropical rainforests. The chamber formed by the lowermost pair of leaflets is sometimes ant-infested.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 6: Rattans.