Calamus scipionum Lour., Fl. Cochinch. : 210 (1790)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Borneo present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Malaya present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Philippines present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Sumatera present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Thailand present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Local in the lowlands of Brunei. Elsewhere throughout Borneo, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, S Thailand and Palawan. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • C. scipionum is most frequent on good alluvial soils in the lowlands up to c. 500 m altitude; it is apparently tolerant of considerable disturbance, being one of the few rattans of secondary habitats. The large size, ecirrate leaf and long flagella distinguish C. scipionum from all other Sarawak rattans except for C. ornatus var. ornatus. The latter has a subcirrate leaf - the apical leaflets are very small and very widely spaced - in marked contrast to the strictly ecirrate leaf of C. scipionum. Although the seedling leaves are so different, it is often difficult to determine young saplings. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A

Common Name

  • Rotan Semambu (Mal.) (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • A walking-stick (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • An excellent cane, the source of true Malacca canes. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


  • Robust clustering rattan climbing to great heights, often to 50 m or more; stems without sheaths c. 25 mm diam., sometimes to 35 mm, with prominent nodes and slightly uneven in cross section, with sheaths to 50 mm diam., internodes very long, sometimes exceeding 100 cm. Sheaths mid to dark green, armed with large triangular flattened yellowish-based black spines to 5 cm, often partly grouped, and abundant deciduous grey indumentum; knee conspicuous; ocrea short, soon tattering. All parts drying dark brown or black. Flagellum robust, frequently exceeding 7 m, armed with black spines. Leaf ecirrate to c. 2 m including petiole to 30 cm; leaflets c. 25 on each side of the rachis, regularly arranged, the proximal to 40 × 3 cm and distal to 20 × 3 cm, dull green and rather neatly curved, bristly only at the tip. Inflorescence to 6 m or more, with c. 7 partial inflorescences often to 1.5 m long, the male more highly branched than the female, female rachillae slender, reflexed. Ripe fruit ovoid to 14 × 9 mm, with a short beak and covered with 14- 15 vertical rows of dull green scales. Seed ovoid c. 10 × 5 mm with scattered shallow pits, endosperm homogeneous. Seedling leaf with 4 leaflets arranged in a fan. (Fig. 60). (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A

Materials Examined

  • BEL: Labi, Kpg.Labi, Dransfield J. 7289. Without prov.: BRUN 15202. (Dransfield, J. 1997: The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam)A


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