Calamus paspalanthus Becc., Fl. Brit. India 6: 450 (1893)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Borneo present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Malaya present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Rare in Brunei; elsewhere throughout Borneo, local in Peninsular Malaysia. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • C. paspalanthus is such a strange species that there should be no difficulty in distinguishing it. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • Referring to the superficial resemblance of the male rachillae in flower to a grass inflorescence (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A

Common Name

  • Wi Singkau (Ib.) (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • The cane is ± useless as it shrinks and is frequently marred by the adventitious roots. The fruit is usually much appreciated for its sourness. Seedlings would make fine ornamentals. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • Solitary moderate rattan, usually short-stemmed but rarely climbing to 20 m, frequently flopping to the ground and producing roots at a position about 1 cm below each node; stem without sheaths 10-15 mm diam., with sheaths to c. 40 mm diam., internodes usually rather short to 12 cm long. Sheath dull dark purplish-brown due to abundant persistent scales, armed with large dark spines 3-5 cm long except around the sheath mouth where very much larger and ± erect to 10 cm; knee very conspicuous, bulbous, grossly swollen; ocrea very long, up to c. 1 m, straw-coloured, fragile and papery, quickly disintegrating to leave almost no trace. Flagellum to 2 m long. Leaf ecirrate, to 2 m including petiole to 80 cm, but often much less;rachis covered with red-brown hairs; leaflets numerous, up to 100 on each side of the rachis, very close and regular, delicate in texture, to 30 × 1 cm, densely bristly on the lower surface. Inflorescences to 5 m or more, including the terminal flagellum; bracts tightly sheathing at the base but thin, papery and disintegrating at the tips; rachillae held at right angles to the partial inflorescence axis. Flowers strictly distichous. Fruit ± spherical, to 18 × 16 mm, covered in c. 15 vertical rows of smooth, red-brown scales with paler shiny margins. Seed ± anvil-shaped with two sharp wings, the sarcotesta extremely sour. Seedling leaf pinnate with numerous leaflets and reddish-brown hairy rachis. (Fig. 54). (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A

Materials Examined

  • TEM: Amo, K.Belalong, Dransfield J. 6672. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


    A. Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae