The rattan palm is a jungle vine, harvested primarily in Africa, Asia and Australia. It is quite durable, seldom warps, and can grow as thick as 3 inches in diameter. Its properties make it ideal for furniture and other household objects. More recently in 2010, scientists have discovered that rattan can be used to replace human bone.
The Himalaya rattan originated in northeast India in the Himalaya Mountains.This plant from the Plectocomia genus, is a high-climbing palm that can reach 80 feet. It is extremely weather resistant and can withstand frigid temperatures and even snow. Himalayan rattan is one of the most ornamental of the rattan palms, but it is seldom used for furniture because of its soft pith. Himalayan "singing bowls" use rattan wands of different densities to bring out different tones and sounds.
Manau is considered one of the most desired types of rattan. It is from the Calamus genus, the most popular genus used for commercial production. Manau is found in Africa, India, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia and eastern Australia. It is primarily used furniture and handicrafts. It is also an ancient material used for weapons, especially in the martial arts of hand-to-hand combat. Long combat sticks, called bastons, are often made from Manau.
This genus of rattan, found in Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Thailand and Malaysia, is noted for its low-lying clustered rather than climbing stems. The species in this genus have less commercial value than those in the plentiful genus Calamus, because of weak stems, but the fibers from leaf sheaves are used for weaving.
The genus of rattan, known as daemonorops, is a type of rattan palm typically found in southeastern Asia.The fruits of the species, daemonorops draco, exude a red resin called "Dragon's blood" while the seeds from species Daemonorops margaritae have been made into prayer beads used by Buddhists.