Calamus deerratus G.Mann & H.Wendl., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 24: 429 (1864)

Primary tabs


Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Angola present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Benin present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Cameroon present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Central African Republic present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Gabon present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Gambia, The present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ghana present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guinea present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guinea-Bissau present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ivory Coast present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Liberia present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Niger present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Nigeria present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Senegal present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Sierra Leone present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Sudan present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Uganda present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Zaire present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Calamus deërratus is the most widely distributed of the rattans of Africa and is distributed across the humid forest zone of Africa; from the Gambia and Casamance in Senegal, southwards to northern Angola and Zambia and eastwards to southern Sudan and Uganda. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • Beccari (1908) acknowledged the close relationship of the African species of Calamus he described, and his treatment of the African representatives of this genus, along those of Drude (1895) and de Wildeman (1904), was reasonable given the fragmentary and often rather poor quality material at their disposal. The fact that Calamus in Africa has been the cause of some taxonomic problems has been undoubtedly due to the recognition of poorly defined infraspecific variation. However, from recent examination of herbarium specimens and field observations, it is clear that Calamus in Africa is represented by a single polymorphic species. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Calamus deërratus has a strong preference for swamp and riverine forest, (Ainslie 1926, Foggie 1941, Ahn 1961) and is rather less common in areas with high rainfall (Hall & Swaine 1981). As such, this species is relatively rare in the Guineo-Congolian forest of Cameroon and Gabon (Richards 1963, Letouzey 1978, Sunderland 2007). This species is more common in drier gallery forest found in the transition zones between Sudanian savanna woodland to the north of the Guineo-Congolian forest formation, and Zambezian savanna woodland to the south. C. deërratus occurs in lowland forest areas in west and central Africa at altitudes <500m and in the higher altitude regions of east Africa >1500m. This species is usually found in forest under a canopy, but also occurs in open areas where it often forms dense thickets. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • Least concern (LC). (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • (Latin) 'to go astray' - refers to the habit of this species to form expansive clumps. (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


  • Clustered, slender to moderate palm climbing to 20 m, often branching sympodially at the base. Stem without sheaths, 1.0-2.8 cm in diameter, with, 1.2-3.5 cm; internodes 8-20 cm long, more commonly 15-20 cm. Leaf-sheaths varied in armature from almost unarmed to densely spiny, with a distinct horizontal, sometimes folded, knee below the petiole; spines dark brown or black, triangular, flattened at base, up to 3 cm long, clusters of upward pointing spines often concentrated around the leaf-sheath mouth to form a conspicuous cleft; mature sheaths with brown or grey indumentum; ocrea to up 12 cm long, usually 8-10 cm, dry, papyraceous, tongue-shaped, often longitudinally splitting and reflexed, becoming unrecognisable, armed on the margins with spines more pale and bristle-like than those on the leaf-sheath, rarely unarmed. Leaves ecirrate, up to 1.75m long, usually 1.2-1.5m; petiole to 20 cm long, rounded abaxially, concave adaxially, ± 5 mm broad, variously armed with large black spines to 3 cm long and small recurved black thorns; rachis triangular in section distally armed as the petiole, spines becoming sparse distally; leaflets up to 30 on each side of the rachis, sub-equidistant to equidistant proximally, grouped in 3s to 6s distally, linear-lanceolate, finely acuminate to apiculate at apex, bluntly compact at the base, up to 35 cm long by 2 cm broad at the widest point, + concolorous with slightly darker green upper surface, leaflet margins, main vein and secondary nerves bristly throughout. Flagellum up to 3.5m long by 4 mm wide at the base, decreasing very gradually above, armed with small recurved thorns. Male and female inflorescences similar, up to 3.5m long, with 1-4 partial inflorescences and a long terminal sterile flagellum; axis and bracts armed throughout with reflexed, solitary or grouped black prickle-like spines; bracts tightly sheathing, up to 70 cm long with an expanded, papyraceous limb ± 5 cm long; partial inflorescences to 40 cm long, with up to 15 or more rachillae on each side, subtended by bracts + 2 cm long (1 cm. exposed), with mouths + 7 mm wide and with a short triangular limb to 4 mm; rachillae up to 7 cm long, arcuate, arranged distichously; bracts distichous, dull brown in colour, ciliate-hairy around the mouth. Male flowers solitary, distichous, with a minute involucre to 1 mm long; calyx 4 mm long, tubular for + 3 mm, with 3 short, triangular, striate lobes; corolla-lobes to 7 mm long × 2 mm wide, fused at the base for + 1 mm, widely diverging at anthesis; stamens to 4 mm long, minutely epipetalous, with filaments up to 3 mm long, anthers + 3 mm. long, medifixed; pollen yellow. Sterile male flower very similar to fertile male but slightly shorter and narrower. Female flower with calyx tubular at first and then splitting as ovary increases in size, lobes + 3 mm long; corolla-lobes + 5 × 2 mm, with 6 minutely epipetalous flattened staminodes; ovary ± 5 mm long by 2.5 mm wide, tipped by 3 stigmas + 1 mm long, markedly recurved at anthesis. Fruit at maturity to 1.5 cm, × 1 cm with a short beak up to 2 mm tipped by remains of the style, with 17-20 vertical rows of scales. Seed flattened laterally, + 9 × 8 × 5 mm, with sarcotesta + 1 mm thick when dry; endosperm homogeneous, embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll pinnate (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A

Materials Examined

  • GAMBIA: Anderson 131, Fr. July 10, 1975 (MO!), Heudelot 372, stam. 1839 (K!), Ingram s.n. sterile s.d. (K!), Starin 136, Aboko Forest Reserve, Fr., January 20, 1992 (K!), Starin 28, Aboko F.R., Fr., December 1979 (K!), SENEGAL: Berhaut 877, Sangalkam (14º47N:17º12W) stam. December, 1950 (BR!), Vanden-Berghen 1752, Casamance (12º51N:15º17W) sterile, January 4, 1977 (MO!, BR!), Vanden-Berghen 4094, Badioure (12º53N:16º08W) stam. November 11, 1980 (BR!), Vanden-Berghen 5264, Bouyouye (12º26N:16º44W) pist. July 19, 1982 (BR!), GUINEA-CONAKRY: Chillou 1905, Kouyaya (10º25N:12º37W) sterile, March 19, 1940 (K!, BR!), Ory 216, Fula Kunda (13º15N:16º37W) sterile, January 25, 1954 (K!), SIERRA LEONE: Deighton 1847, Taisma, Central Province, Fr. July 8, 1930 (K!), Deighton 2592, Njala (08º06N:10º46W) sterile, January 1, 1933 (K!), Mann 895, Bagroo River (07º45N:12º50W) sterile, April 1861 (K!, FI!), Scott-Elliot 4738, Kambia (08º41N:13º03W) sterile, January 8, 1892 (K!), Scott-Elliot 5121, Musaia (09º27N:11º25W), sterile, March 10, 1892 (K!); Small 455, River Seli, Fr., September 5, 1951 (K!); Thomas 2753, Jigaya, stam. September 28, 1914 (K!); LIBERIA: Linder1078, Piatah (07º12N:09º28W) sterile, October 15, 1926 (K!, MO!, WAG!); Linder 1116, Piatah (07º12N:09º28W) stam., October 17, 1926 (K!, MO!); Linder 1226, Gbanga (06º59N:09º28W) sterile, October 24, 1926 (K!, WAG!); Whyte s.n., near Kabatown (06º21N:10º43W) stam., April 1904 K!; IVORY COAST: Hepper & Maley 8041, Mont des Dans near Santa (08º16N:08º07W) pist., February 3, 1984 (K!); Hepper & Maley 8177, Taï Forest (05º38N:07º08W) sterile, February 9, 1984 (K!); Leeuwenberg 2524, 61km N of Sassandra (06º10N: 05º19W) stam., January 21, 1959 (WAG!); Leeuwenberg 2882, 18km NW of Sassandra (06º15N:05º00W) stam., November 26, 1960 (K!, WAG!); Oldeman 571, 9km ENE of Bereby (04º34N:07º00W) seedling, November 9, 1963 (WAG!); Oldeman 589, 3km E of Bereby (04º34N:07º00W) pist., November 5, 1963 (K!, WAG!); GHANA: Adams 2025, 2m E of Bibiani (06º20N:02º10W) sterile, December 23, 1953 (GC!); Cummins 128, Ashanti region, sterile, 1895 (K!); Enti 643, Kade Agricultural Station (06º05N:00º50W) pist., March 17, 1972 (GC!, MO!, BR!); Enti & Hall s.n., Kade Agricultural Station (06º05N:00º50W) Fr., May 30, 1970 (GC!); Hall 2846, Anjakal, stam., January 20, 1965 (K!, GC!); Johnson242, Kibbi-Akkim (06º09N:00º35W) Fr., December 13, 1899 (K!); Kinlock 3326, Tarkwa, Ndumnfri Forest Reserve (05º10N:02º09W) sterile, February 15, 1934 (KUM!); Kisseadoo 435, Bobiri Forest Reserve (06º38N:01º17W) sterile, November 10, 1988 (MO!); Sunderland 2262, Draw River Forest Reserve (05º12N:02º20W) sterile, May 26, 1999 (K!, KUM!); Tomlinson s.n., Bobiri Forest Reserve (06º38N:01º17W) stam., December 20, 1957 (K!); Tomlinson s.n., Cape Coast Forest Reserve (05º04N:01º30W) stam., December 15, 1957 (GC!); Tsiforkor s.n., Bunsu (06º15N:00º28W) sterile, November 22, 1995 (K!); Vigne 1868, Amentia Forest Reserve, E. Region (06º10N:01º58W) pist., March 30, 1930 (K!, KUM!); Vigne 3951, South Formango F.R. (06º35N:01º57W) sterile, July 30, 1935 (FHO!, KUM!); BENIN: Aufsess 424, Adjarra (06º32N:05º52E) sterile, December 6, 1988 (K!); NIGERIA: Allison 6994, Kabba Province (08º08N:06º44N) stam., November 15, 1943 (K!); Ayewoh 3854, Ondo Province, Ifon (06º54N:05º46E) sterile, February 24, 1944 (K!); Barter s.n., Onitsha (06º06N:06º48E) Fr., s.d. (K!); Bennett8, sterile, February 24, 1906 (K!); Chapman 5010, Gangumi Forest Reserve, Gongola State (07º16N:11º23E) Fr., May 24, 1977 (K!); Chapman 5423, Baissa Forest Reserve, Gongola State (07º14N:10º38E) Fr., April 29, 1978 (K!); Gledhill 923, Akure Forest Reserve (07º12N:05º11E) sterile, April 5, 1968 (K!, WAG!); Imperial Institute of Nigeria 347, Ahoada (05º03N:06º34E) sterile, February 1, 1936 (K!); Keay 28091, Kouton Kerifi, (08º08N:06º44N) Fl., November 6, 1950 (K!); Lowe 4353, Ilaro Forest Reserve, near Abeokuta (08º03N:06º06E) sterile, December 14, 1982 (K!); Tuley 846, Lagos (06º28N:03º20E) Fl., May 4, 1964 (K!); CAMEROON: unknown collector, Bezirk Djah (03º00N:12º40E) stam., March, 1910 (FI!); Buschen 3, Ebolowa (02º55N:11º08E) sterile, s.d. (FI!); Dransfield 6999, Mungo River Crossing (04º08N:09º31E) stam., June 27, 1991 (K!, SCA!); Dransfield 7000, Mungo River Crossing (04º08N:09º31E) sterile juvenile, June 27, 1991 (K!); Lederman 2428, Tibati (06º27N:12º37E) pist., January 29, 1909 (FI!); Mann 2147, Cameroon River (04º04N:09º38E) Fl. & Fr., January 1863 (K!, FI!); Meijer 15220, Sangmelima (02º55N:11º58E) sterile, March 24, 1981 (K!, MO!, WAG!, YA!); Meijer 15288, 9km W of Sangmelima (02º55N:11º58E) sterile, March 26, 1981 (WAG!); Mildbraed 4190, 21km northeast of Moloundou (02º03N:15º09E) Fl., June 6, 1911 (HBG!); Mildbraed 9548, Buea-Douala at Uham, Fl., May 5, 1914 (K!); Raynal 10150, 17km SE Ambam along the river Kye (02º23N:11º16E) sterile, March 1, 1963 (YA!); Raynal 10548, Guerima (7km NE de Bafia), gallery forest on river Mbam (04º44N:11º13E) stam., March 28, 1963 (YA!); Sunderland 1754, Limbe-Douala road at Mungo Bridge (04º08N:09º31E) stam., November 16, 1996 (K!, SCA!, BH!); Sunderland 1864, Djoum (02º48N:12º22E) sterile, September 9, 1997 (K!, YA!, WAG!); CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Fay 7020, N'Dele-Pata road (08º08N:21º08E) pist., May 30, 1985 (MO!); Fay 4381, Manovo-St Floris National Park (09º29N:21º17E) Fr., April 4, 1983 (K!); Harris & Fay 820, Ndakan (02º21N:16º09E) sterile, June 1, 1988 (K!); le Testu 3594, Haute-Kotto (04º11N:22º08E) Fr., January 17, 1922, (BR!); EQUATORIAL GUINEA: Tessmann 6, Fr., s.d. (FI!); Gabon: Klaine 3246, Environs de Libreville (00º35N:09º22E) Fr., February 18, 1903 (K!); DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Claessens 989, Mangbetu (02º28N:27º22E) sterile, June 1921 (BR!); de Witte 4066, Parc National de l'Upemba (09º04S:26º38E) pist., August, 1948 (BR!); Demeuse s.n., sterile, s.d. (BR!); Evrard 1876, Likimi (02º49N:20º44E) stam., September 29, 1955 (BR!); Evrard 3933, River Tshuapa en amont de Boende (00º44S:19º12E) Fr., April 18, 1958 (BR!); Germain 210, Lileko, river Yoko (00º48S:19º34E) stam., February 28, 1940 (BR!); Hart 633, Epulu, Ituri forest (01º25M:28º35E) stam., September 8, 1986 (MO!, BR!); Hoier s.n., Parc National de Albert (00º46S:29º17E) pist., January, 1930 (BR!); Laurent 981, Limbuku, Fr., March 16, 1906 (BR!); Laurent s.n., Machofa, Fr. December 17, 1898 (BR!); Laurent s.n., Sankuru (04º03S:22º32E) pist., November 18, 1903 (BR!); Laurent s.n., stam., 1903 (BR!); Lejoly 2912, Ubundu (00º26S:25º28E) stam., March 12, 1978 (BR!); Leonard 832, Eala, on banks of the Ikelemba (00º03N:18º18E) Fr., October 14, 1946 (K!, WAG!, BR!); Louis 15541, between Lisala and Ukaturaka (02º14N:21º33E) Fr. July 13, 1939 (K!, BR!); Louis 16796, Yangambi (00º45N:24º26E) Fr., November 17, 1943 (BR!); Luja 234, sterile, s.d. (BR!); Malaisse 9453, Kando (10º49S:25º44E) sterile, February 22, 1978 (WAG!, BR!); Malaisse 11907, between Kyamasumba and Buzange, sterile, September 20, 1981 (MO!, WAG!); Malaisse 13889, Kibwe (08º19S:29º04E) stam., July 12, 1986 (BR!); Mandango 2977, Ile Mbo near Lubutu (00º44S:26º34E) Fr., May 13, 1981 (BR!); Noirfalise 664, Parc National de la Garamba (04º10N:29º28E) Fr., August 4, 1950 (BR!); Robyns 3250, Parc National de la Garamba (04º10N:29º28E) sterile, July 25, 1948 (BR!); Sapin s.n., Milangala, sterile, Febuary 1910 (BR!); Schweinfurthii 2860, Manselli, sterile, October 1893 (K!); Troupin 296, Parc National de la Garamba (04º10N:29º28E) sterile, March 5, 1982 (BR!); Vanderyst 12343, Luenge (06º28S:26º14E) seedling, August 1922 (BR!); Vanderyst21843, seedling s.d. (BR!); ANGOLA: Gossweiler 13644, Luachima, NE of Luanda (07º53S:14º05E) pist. & Fr., May 1938 (K!); Sudan: Andrews 1291, Equatoria Province, stam., May 28, 1937 (K!); Jackson 3406, Equatoria Province, Yambio (04º34N:28º23E) Fr., 1950 (FHO!); Myers 6757, Mt Ameringi, sterile, May 28, 1937 (K!); Myers 11334, Equatoria Province, stam., May 17, 1939 (K!); UGANDA: Dawe 149, Mabira forest (00º30N:33º00E) sterile, 1904 (K!); Eggeling 1626, Budongo Forest (07º40N:31º32E) pist., February 1935 (K!, FHO!); Katende 702, Nyabisabu River, Budongo (07º40N:31º32E) Fl., October 17, 1970 (K!); Katende2783, Budongo Forest (07º40N:31º32E) stam., September 17, 1977 (MO!); Poulson 969, Budongo Forest (07º40N:31º32E) pist., September 18, 1995 (K!) (Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76)A


    A. Sunderland, T.C.H. 2012: A taxonomic revision of the rattans of Africa (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). – Phytotaxa 51: 1-76
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae