Rattans (Calamus spp.) are closely related to palm trees, but many rattan species have vines instead of trunks. The crown of the rattan clings to the upper branches of forest trees, and the vine trails down to the ground. Some of the small-diameter rattans can simply be pulled down, tearing the crown loose from the supporting branches. The harvester then cuts off the crown and leaf sheathes, cuts the vine into standard trade lengths (nineteen feet for thin rattan), ties the sections into bundles, and then drags them out to a river or other collection place. In the 1970s, Malay traders used rafts to carry large loads of rattan downriver to their villages, where they processed the vines to preserve them and then shipped them out by train or truck. Thin rattan is made into fish traps or is split and used for caning and lashing in furniture. Here a man is pulling down the vine of a thin rattan.
Endicott Image Collection
Rattan Palms -- Malaysia -- Kelantan. , Batek (Malaysian people) -- Harvesting., Lebir River (Malay)