Rattan is a type of plant, not wood, that belongs to the Arecaceae family. This plant is commonly encountered in everyday life, both as part of household furniture and charming handicrafts. This palm-like plant has long been used in furniture making and home decor. However, it holds deeper meanings as well – a symbol of harmony with nature, balance, and sustainability.

But how well do we really know rattan? This article will take you on a deeper exploration of rattan.

Introduction to Rattan

Rattan plays a significant role in various aspects of human life. From its historical use to its various types, rattan carries intriguing stories for us to delve into.

1. Rattan’s History

Rattan boasts a rich and lengthy history. This material has been utilized by diverse cultures worldwide for centuries. Throughout its history, it has been an integral part of human life, especially in the crafting of furniture and household items.

To this day, this plant remains a crucial element in various cultures across the globe. Particularly in Southeast Asia and other regions, rattan is still employed in various ways, underscoring its importance not only in history but also in modern life.

2. Types of Rattan

Rattan is not a singular plant but encompasses hundreds of species scattered worldwide. Nonetheless, some types of rattan are more popular and frequently used in furniture making and craftsmanship.

Some commonly used types of rattan include Manau rattan, Segedin rattan, and Kubu rattan. Each type of rattan possesses distinct characteristics that influence how they can be utilized and applied in various products and crafts. Here are some of them:

– Manau Rattan (Calamus Manan)

Manau rattan is one of the most common and popular types. Known for its exceptional strength, it is widely used in furniture making due to its durability and flexibility. Manau rattan has a smooth texture and even color, making it an attractive choice for various craft products.

– Segedin Rattan (Calamus Caesius)

Segedin rattan is a fast-growing type with high regenerative capabilities, making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice. It is typically used for smaller products like baskets, tableware, and support structures in traditional building construction.

– Rope Rattan (Calamus exillis)

Rope rattan is unique due to its smaller size, resembling a rope. This type is usually used in crafts requiring intricate detailing and precision, such as basketry and tableware production.

– Tohiti Rattan (Plectocomia elongata)

Tohiti rattan is known for its appealing natural texture and dark brown color. It is commonly used in the production of durable and aesthetic indoor and outdoor furniture. Its unique color adds a premium touch to products made from Tohiti rattan.

– Koobo Rattan (Calamus rotang)

Kubu rattan is characterized by its strength and durability. Its natural gray color imparts a natural and elegant vibe to products made from it. Kubu rattan is typically used in crafting baskets, chairs, and various furniture items.

3. Rattan’s Life Cycle

Rattan grows naturally in tropical forests. Its life cycle begins with seeds planted in the ground but can also be propagated through vegetative stems. In about 2-3 years, rattan reaches a size suitable for harvesting. The most effective way to harvest is by cutting it as close to the roots as possible, allowing the plant to regrow rapidly.

Utilization of Rattan

The use of rattan is quite diverse, ranging from furniture to handicrafts. Considering its versatile applications, it’s easy to understand why rattan is highly valued.

1. Rattan in the Furniture Industry

Rattan has long been a preferred material in the Furniture Manufactures. Its unique texture and flexibility make it ideal for various types of furniture, from chairs to tables and cabinets. Not only is it known for its strength, but it also imparts a natural ambiance to spaces. Additionally, rattan is renowned for its durability, making it an economical choice for consumers.

2. Rattan in Art and Crafts

Rattan is also widely recognized in the world of art and crafts. Thanks to its pliability and flexibility, it can be easily shaped into various attractive forms and designs, from woven baskets to wall decorations and sculptures. Its unique texture adds aesthetic value to craft items, making it a favorite among artists and artisans. It serves not only as practical objects but also as decorative elements that enhance the beauty of spaces.

Benefits and Advantages of Rattan

Rattan is not just about beauty and functionality; it also offers economic and environmental benefits. These advantages make rattan a highly valuable resource.

1. Economic Benefits

The rattan industry plays a crucial role in the economies of many countries, particularly in tropical regions where this plant thrives. It provides employment opportunities for millions of people. Moreover, rattan products serve as important export commodities for many nations. With high demand in international markets, they contribute significantly to the income of producing countries.

2. Environmental Sustainability

In an era where sustainability issues are increasingly important, rattan stands out as an environmentally friendly material. Its rapid regrowth after harvesting makes it a sustainable alternative to wood. Furthermore, rattan cultivation contributes to forest conservation efforts. By using rattan as a wood substitute, we can reduce pressure on forests and aid in their conservation.

Caring for Rattan Furniture

Despite its advantages over other materials, rattan is still a natural material that requires care to maintain its best condition. One of its biggest adversaries is moisture, so it’s crucial to place rattan furniture in a dry location away from direct sunlight. Small insects can also pose a threat to rattan furniture, as they can enter and nest within the material, causing it to become brittle. To prevent this, regular cleaning is essential.


Rattan is an extraordinary material with diverse uses and benefits. From its rich history to its role in economics and the environment, rattan proves to be a valuable resource with significant economic value.