Calamus aruensis Becc., Malesia 3: 61 (1886)

Primary tabs


Widespread in New Guinea from the Raja Ampat Islands to the Bismarck Archipelago. Also recorded from Aru Islands, the Solomon Islands and from the tip of the Cape York Peninsula, Australia (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A


  •      Undoubtedly the most common and widespread of all rattans in New Guinea, this robust species occurs throughout the lowlands of the island. In its most distinctive form, the palm is solitary, bears regularly arranged leaflets and is armed with numerous stiff, dark, triangular spines throughout the sheath. However, unarmed forms are well known and have been found growing together with the heavily armed form. Intermediates are also frequent and vary widely in the density of spines on the sheath. Inflorescence and leaf morphology is largely uniform, although subregular leaflet arrangements have been recorded. The armature of the cirrus distinguishes C. aruensis from all other members of the complex. Typically, a cirrus is armed with regularly arranged whorls of recurved, grapnel-like spines. However, the grapnel-like spines of C. aruensis are not arranged regularly, but are scattered irregularly throughout the cirrus. This feature is known in a few other rattan species, such as C. pogonacanthus Becc. ex H.Winkl. from Borneo, but is not known in other members of the C. aruensis complex or, indeed, in any other Papuasian or Pacific rattan.
         Calamus aruensis is recorded from the Aru Islands, the Solomon Islands and Australia, as well as from New Guinea. Some regional morphological variants are known. For example, Australian collections indicate that the species can be caespitose and Solomon Islands collections display unusual sheath spines which are divided at their apices into multiple, acute points. Although these observations are noteworthy, the specimens are otherwise unequivocally attributable to C. aruensis. In addition, the sympodial flower cluster of the pistillate inflorescence, which normally consists of a terminal, sterile, staminate flower and a lateral, fertile, pistillate flower, very infrequently includes an additional pistillate flower.
         Although the type specimen of C. hollrungii lacks a leaf sheath, the available material leaves no doubt that it is synonymous with C. aruensis. For example, the type collection includes the basal part of a cirrus which bears irregularly arranged grapnel spines. Calamus latisectus, too, is here placed in synonymy with C. aruensis; to be fair to Burret he synonymised it with C. hollrungii (1939) only three years after he had described it.
         Calamus aruensis yields a high quality, moderately large diameter cane that has already been used on a small scale for furniture production. The cane is also widely used as cordage for various general purposes, though this may be a reflection of its ready availability rather than its suitability for specific uses. Nevertheless, in view of the nature of the cane and the relative abundance of the resource, C. aruensis is the most promising target species in New Guinea for commercial exploitation. (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Various types of primary and secondary forest vegetations from sea level to 1200 m, most frequently recorded in lowland forest below 500 m. (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A


  • Least concern. (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A

Common Name

  • NEW GUINEA: akalane (Namasalang), apo gui (Wamesa), bu (Madang), busep (Jal), dou (Waigeo), kanda (Pidgin), kaunor (Waigeo), kerowa (Karimui), kou (Senderawoi), kuminang (Kote), meya senga (Nuni), minge (Bembi), mumuni (Orokaiva), proway (Berap), sate (Rawa), sauwe (Mata), sehp (Usino), sough (Taka), tek niali (Mianmin), to mur (Ayawasi), to puot (Ayawasi), tub (Yei), wap (Wampar), wampwang (Kaigorin), war (Fas), wil dow (Batanta, Salawati), yapl (Bewani). SOLOMON ISLANDS: haikeletau (Kwara'ae), kalitau (Kwara'ae), karakara, obai, pata, potonai, tikulu (Bougainville). (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A


  • General cordage for pulling heavy objects and building bridges, split cane for tying house timbers, cane for furniture, cirrus for catching eels, leaves as wrapping for sago and in walls of houses, young shoot edible. (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A


  • Robust, solitary or rarely clustering rattan climbing to 50 m. Stem with sheaths 20 – 50 mm diam., without sheaths 10 – 30 mm diam.; internodes 16 – 39 cm, longer in juveniles. Leaf cirrate, to 5 m long including cirrus and petiole; sheath greyish green to dark green, with sparse to abundant, thin, caducous indumentum of matted grey to brown fibrous scales, with scattered purple-brown scales, spines absent to numerous, 4 – 26 × 1 – 7 mm, dark green to black, planar, triangular, stiff, in some forms each spine divided near the apex into several (most commonly 3) points, spine bases slightly swollen adaxially, most spines of uniform large size, interspersed with few smaller spines, solitary or in irregular partial whorls of up to 5, conspicuous spine impressions on sheath, sheath mouth often unarmed, but sometimes densely armed with numerous small spines; knee 44 – 125 mm long, 21 – 37 mm wide, elongate, rarely armed, colour and indumentum as on sheath; ocrea 3 – 9 mm, forming a low, woody, brown, rarely armed, persistent collar, base of ocrea extending along petiole to an acute angle; flagellum absent; petiole 7 – 90 mm, 11 – 27 mm wide and 6 – 15 mm thick at base, channelled or flat adaxially, rounded abaxially, indumentum as on sheath, with few to many short triangular spines; rachis 1.5 – 3 m, with few to many spines as petiole, with irregularly-arranged grapnel spines abaxially; leaflets 13 – 23 each side of rachis, regular or subregular, broadly lanceolate, cucullate, longest leaflets near middle of leaf, 26 – 66 × 6 – 12.5 cm, apical leaflets 10 – 22 × 0.3 – 0.4 cm, distal leaflets widely spaced, basal leaflets small and often reflexing, leaflet surfaces unarmed or with few bristles 1 – 4 mm on adaxial surface of mid-rib and rarely on other major veins, leaflet margins unarmed or with bristles 1 – 6 mm absent at base and increasing in density towards leaflet apex, transverse veinlets inconspicuous; cirrus 1 – 2.5 m, cirrus grapnel spines arranged irregularly. Staminate inflorescence up to 2.7 m long including 15 – 37 cm sterile tip, branched to 3 orders, inflorescence sometimes emerging from sheath mouth, otherwise inserted near to sheath apex; prophyll c. 30 × 2.2 cm, strictly tubular, with 2 conspicuous keels, prophyll mouth entire, with narrow, acute, triangular limb to one side, sometimes subtending primary branch, indumentum as on sheath, unarmed or with very few, short spines; peduncular bracts absent, rachis bracts 10 – 33 × 0.5 – 1.9 cm, similar to prophyll; primary branches 6 – 9, to 55 cm long, 10 – 30 cm apart, strongly recurving, with up to c. 550 rachillae, bracts on primary and secondary branches funnel-shaped; rachillae 5 – 33 × 0.6 – 1.2 mm, sublinear, glabrous; rachilla bracts 0.5 – 0.6 × 0.6 – 0.9 mm, distichous, glabrous; floral bracteole 0.6 – 0.7 × 0.8 – 1 mm. Staminate flowers 3 – 3.2 × 1.5 mm in bud near anthesis; calyx 1.5 mm diam., tubular in basal 0.8 – 1 mm, with 3 lobes 0.5 × 0.8 – 1 mm, glabrous; corolla 2.5 – 3 × 1.5 mm in bud, tubular in basal 0.7 – 1 mm, glabrous; stamens 6, filaments 1.2 – 1.8 × 0.2 – 0.3 mm, anthers 1.3 – 1.5 × 0.5 – 0.7 mm; pistillode c. 0.2 mm, minutely trifid. Pistillate inflorescence similar to staminate inflorescence, but branched to 2 orders, up to 3 m long including 18 – 47 cm peduncle and 14 – 120 cm sterile tip, usually inserted near to sheath apex, but sometimes emerging from sheath mouth; prophyll 18 – 46 × 1.3 – 2.5 cm, similar to staminate prophyll; peduncular bracts absent, rachis bracts 9 – 32 × 0.4 – 2 cm, similar to prophyll; primary branches 6 – 10, to 55 cm long, 21 – 40 cm apart, strongly recurving, with up to 43 rachillae, distal primary branches often consisting of a single rachilla, bracts on primary branch funnel-shaped; rachillae 2.3 – 14 × 0.1 – 0.2 cm, sublinear or irregular; rachilla bracts 0.5 – 1 × 1.6 – 2.5 mm, subdistichous, sometimes with indumentum as on sheath; proximal floral bracteole obscured by distal bracteole, distal floral bracteole 0.8 – 2 × 1.2 – 2 mm, glabrous, scar from sterile staminate flower c. 0.2 mm diam. Pistillate flowers c. 2.7 × 2.2 mm at anthesis; calyx c. 2.2 mm diam., tubular in basal c. 1.9 mm, with 3 lobes to c. 0.6 × 1.3 mm, glabrous; corolla c. 2.3 × 1.6 mm, tubular in basal c. 1.1 mm, with 3 lobes to c. 1.2 × 1.3 mm, glabrous; staminodes 6, c. 1.2 mm long, staminodal ring c. 0.8 mm high; ovary c. 1.3 × 1.3 mm, globose, style c. 0.5 mm long, stigmas c. 0.6 mm long. Sterile staminate flowers similar to staminate flower, but with empty anthers. Fruit globose, 10.5 – 14 × 10 – 11.5 mm including beak 0.5 – 1 mm, with 12 – 18 longitudinal rows of cream-white, shallowly channelled scales with entire, but uneven margins, sarcotesta c. 0.5 mm thick. Seed (sarcotesta removed) 7.5 – 9.5 × 7 – 9 × 6 – 7 mm, globose, with a deep, narrow pit on one side, the surface covered with numerous deep pits and irregular channels; endosperm homogeneous; embryo basal. (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A

Materials Examined

  • AUSTRALIA. Queensland: Cape York Peninsula, Lockerbie-Somerset, Laradenya Creek, Sept. 1996, Dowe 374 (BRI!), Sept. 1979, Gray 1517 (BRI!). INDONESIA, Aru Islands. Wokam Island: Giabu-Lengan [Jabulenga], May 1873, Beccari s.n. (FI!, type). INDONESIA, Papua. Biak Numfor Regency: North Supiori Subdistrict, Fanjur, 2001, Jitmau et al. 308 (AAU, K!, MAN). Fak Fak Regency: Kaimana district, Kroy, May 2001, Mehen 23 (AAU, CANB, K!, MAN). Jayapura Regency: Jayapura, July 1956, Sijde BW 4003 (L!, LAE!). Manokwari Regency: Arfak Plains, Settlement Unit Seven, April 1994, Mogea 6246 (BO, K!, L, MAN, NY). Merauke Regency: Kwell, Sept. 2000, Maturbongs et al. 653 (BO, K!, MAN). Mimika Regency: Mile 39 on road from Timika to Tembagapura, March 1998, Heatubun et al. 260 (AAU!, BH!, BO!, K!, L!, MAN!). Nabire Regency: Samabusa, Feb. 2001, Maturbongs et al. 676 (BO, K!, MAN). Sorong Regency: Sorong, Klasaman, km 14, Sept. 1995, Maturbongs 278 (K!, MAN); Raja Ampat Islands, Batanta Island, Waylebed, July 1996, Maturbongs 307 (K!, MAN); Raja Ampat Islands, N Misool Island, 10 km SW of Limalas, Jan. 2002, Maturbongs et al. 695 (AAU!, BO, K!, LAE!, MAN); Raja Ampat Islands, Waigeo Island, Waifoi, June 1997, Maturbongs 510 (K!, MAN); Raja Ampat Islands, Salawati Island, Wayom, July 1996, Maturbongs 303 (K!, MAN); Yapen Waropen Regency: Yapen Island, trans-Yapen highway, Oct. 1998, Maturbongs & Sagisolo 616 (BO, K!, L, MAN, NY). PAPUA NEW GUINEA. Central Province: Port Moresby, Mariboi Plantation, April 1973, Zieck & Gore NGF 36550 (BH, K!, L, LAE); Abau Subdistrict, Cape Rodney, near Bomguina River, March 1969, Zieck NGF 36199 (BH, CANB, L, LAE!). East Sepik Province: Augusta Station, 1886, Hollrung 667 (B�, FI!); 4 miles W of Wewak, Sept. 1968, Zieck NGF 36177 (L, LAE!). Eastern Highlands Province: Kundiawa, NW of Karimui airstrip, Dec. 1972, Zieck NGF 36512 (BH, CANB, K!, L, LAE). Gulf Province: Baimuru subdistrict, Vailala, 50 km from Kerema, April 1974, al LAE 61287 (BRI!, BH, L, LAE). Madang Province: Mawan, road along the Gogol River leading to Japanese chip mill, Oct. 1999, Barfod 429 (AAU, BRI, CANB, K!, LAE). Manus Province: Wili River above Pelikawa, June 1971, Stone & Streimann LAE 53775 (BH, L, LAE!). Milne Bay Province: Raba Raba subdistrict, Kwagira River, Peria Creek, Aug. 1953, Brass 24165 (A, L, LAE!). Morobe Province: Wafok, Near Nadzab, Jan. 1996, Baker &.Utteridge 606 (K!, LAE!). East New Britain Province: Yalom, May 1962, Dissing et al. 2489 (LAE!). New Ireland Province: Kavieng; Namasalang, May 1969, Zieck NGF 36213 (BH, K!, L, LAE!). North Solomons Province: Bougainville Island, along road to Boku, c. 12 miles W of Buin, Sept. 1964, Craven & Schodde 508 (A, CANB!, L, LAE). Northern Province: Cape Killerton, Popondetta Road c. 7 km S of Cape Killerton along Popondetta Road, July 1953, Hoogland 3268 (CANB, BM, K!, L). Sandaun Province: Bewani, March 2000, Barfod 503 (AAU, BRI, CANB, K!, LAE). Southern Highlands Province: Lake Kutubu, Feb. 1996, Baker et al. 664 (K!, LAE!). Western Province: Morehead, Karpurnango, N of Mata Village, Aug. 1968, Zieck NGF 36168 (K!, L, LAE). SOLOMON ISLANDS. Florida Islands: Florida, near Taroniara, March 1970, Whitmore et al. BSIP 18111 (K!). New Georgia Islands: New Georgia, Munda-Noro Road, Sept. 1991, Qusa 126 (BRI!, K!). (Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific)A


    A. Baker, W.J., Bayton, R.P., Dransfield, J. & Maturbongs, R.A. 2003: A revision of the Calamus aruensis (Arecaceae) complex in New Guinea and the Pacific