A genus of palms in which the stem is clothed in a spiny tubular sheath, 10 m or more long, and flexuous, rarely short and erect. Leaves are pinnate, often with a long, protruding, spiny tip (cirrus), or with modified, sterile, spiny inflorescences (flagella), rarely both; the spiny whips grapple the surrounding forest. Calamus is dioecious. The inflorescence has tubular, spiny sheaths. Fruits are scaly, often with a thin, sour pulp. Many species produce useful cane, a few entering international commerce. Calamus is the largest of all palm genera, and the most wide-ranging genus of climbing palms (rattans or rotans). There are about 370 species in Africa, India, and southern China, south through the Malay archipelago to northern Australia, and from the western Pacific islands to Fiji.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.