Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


A revised delimitation of the rattan genus Calamus (Arecaceae)

William J Baker


All available phylogenetic evidence indicates that the rattan genus Calamus, the largest of all palm (Arecaceae) genera, is non-monophyletic and that the four remaining genera of subtribe Calaminae (Calameae: Calamoideae), Ceratolobus, Daemonorops, Pogonotium and Retispatha, are nested within it. This issue has not yet been adequately addressed in palm classifications, with recent authors preferring to wait for further phylogenetic evidence before revising the limits of the genera. Here, an alternative solution is proposed that is both pragmatic and phylogenetically robust. An expanded Calamus is recognised into which Ceratolobus, Daemonorops, Pogonotium and Retispatha are subsumed. This broad generic concept, which includes ca. 520 species, has practical advantages as it is more clearly defined by morphological and anatomical characters, and resolves potential biases introduced to recent eco-evolutionary research on palms by the non-monophyly of critical genera. Future phylogenetic research may yet provide an alternative means of delimiting these genera, but the broad sense Calamus proposed here is a justifiable alternative that can be adopted immediately. Nomenclatural synopses transferring currently accepted species of Ceratolobus, Daemonorops and Pogonotium to Calamus are provided, including 70 new combinations and 12 replacement names.


lianas, nomenclature, Palmae, palms, rattans, South-East Asia, taxonomy

Full Text:

PDF/A (190.91 KB)


Baker, W.J. & Dransfield, J. (2008) Calospatha subsumed in Calamus (Arecaceae: Calamoideae). Kew Bulletin 63: 161–162.

Baker, W.J. & Couvreur, T.L.P. (2013a) Global biogeography and diversification of palms sheds light on the evolution of tropical lineages. I. Historical biogeography. Journal of Biogeography 40: 274–285.

Baker, W.J. & Couvreur, T.L.P. (2013b) Global biogeography and diversification of palms sheds light on the evolution of tropical lineages. II. Diversification history and origin of regional assemblages. Journal of Biogeography 40: 286–298.

Baker, W.J. & Dransfield, J. (2014) New rattans from New Guinea (Calamus, Arecaceae). Phytotaxa 163: 181–215.

Baker, W.J., Dransfield, J. & Hedderson, T.A. (2000a) Phylogeny, character evolution, and a new classification of the calamoid palms. Systematic Botany 25: 297–322.

Baker, W.J., Hedderson, T.A. & Dransfield, J. (2000b) Molecular phylogenetics of Calamus (Palmae) and related rattan genera based on 5S nrDNA spacer sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 14: 218–231.

Baker, W.J., Hedderson, T.A. & Dransfield, J. (2000c) Molecular phylogenetics of subfamily Calamoideae (Palmae) based on nrDNA ITS and cpDNA rps16 intron sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 14: 195–217.

Baker, W.J., Dransfield, J., Harley, M.M. & Bruneau, A. (1999) Morphology and cladistic analysis of subfamily Calamoideae (Palmae). In: Henderson, A. & Borchsenius, F. (Eds.) Evolution and classification of palms. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 83, pp. 307–324.

Baker, W.J., Savolainen, V., Asmussen-Lange, C.B., Chase, M.W., Dransfield, J., Forest, F., Harley, M.M., Uhl, N.W. & Wilkinson, M. (2009) Complete generic-level phylogenetic analyses of palms (Arecaceae) with comparisons of supertree and supermatrix approaches. Systematic Biology 58: 240–256.

Beccari, O. (1911) Asiatic palms – Lepidocaryeae. Part 2. The species of Daemonorops. Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta 12: 1–237.

Couvreur, T.L.P., Forest, F. & Baker, W.J. (2011) Origin and global diversification patterns of tropical rain forests: inferences from a complete genus-level phylogeny of palms. BMC Biology 9: 44.

Couvreur, T.L.P., Kissling, W.D., Condamine, F.L., Svenning, J.-C., Rowe, N.P. & Baker, W.J. (2014) Global diversification of a tropical plant growth form: environmental correlates and historical contingencies in climbing palms. Frontiers in Genetics 5: 452.

Dransfield, J. (1980a) Pogonotium (Palmae: Lepidocaryoideae), a new genus related to Daemonorops. Kew Bulletin 34: 761–768.

Dransfield, J. (1980b) Retispatha, a new Bornean rattan genus (Palmae: Lepidocaryoideae). Kew Bulletin 34: 529–536.

Dransfield, J., Uhl, N.W., Asmussen, C.B., Baker, W.J., Harley, M.M. & Lewis, C.E. (2005) A new phylogenetic classification of the palm family, Arecaceae. Kew Bulletin 60: 559–569.

Dransfield, J., Uhl, N.W., Asmussen, C.B., Baker, W.J., Harley, M.M. & Lewis, C.E. (2008) Genera Palmarum - the evolution and classification of palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, 732 pp.

Fisher, J.B., Tan, H.T.W. & Toh, L.P.L. (2002) Xylem of rattans: Vessel dimensions in climbing palms. American Journal of Botany 89: 196–202.

Gardiner, L.M. (2012) New combinations in the genus Vanda (Orchidaceae). Phytotaxa 61: 47–54.

Gardiner, L.M., Kocyan, A., Motes, M., Roberts, D.L. & Emerson, B.C. (2013) Molecular phylogenetics of Vanda and related genera (Orchidaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 173: 549–572.

Govaerts, R., Dransfield, J., Zona, S., Hodel, D.R. & Henderson, A. (2014) World Checklist of Arecaceae. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Available from:

Henderson, A. & Floda, D. (2015) Retispatha subsumed in Calamus (Arecaceae). Phytotaxa 192: 58–60.

Kissling, W.D., Eiserhardt, W.L., Baker, W.J., Borchsenius, F., Couvreur, T.L.P., Balslev, H. & Svenning, J.C. (2012) Cenozoic imprints on the phylogenetic structure of palm species assemblages worldwide. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109: 7379–7384.

Linnaeus, C. (1753) Species plantarum. vol. 1–2. Salvius, Holmiae, 1200 pp.

Schultes, J.A. & Schultes, J.H. (1830) Systema Vegetabilium. Vol.7. J.G. Cottae, Stuttgart, 1816 pp.

Seubert, E. (1996) Root anatomy of palms. II. Calamoideae. Feddes Repertorium 1–2: 43–59.

Tomlinson, P.B. & Spangler, R. (2002) Developmental features of the discontinuous stem vascular system in the rattan palm Calamus (Arecaceae-Calamoideae-Calamineae). American Journal of Botany 89: 1128–1141.

Tomlinson, P.B., Horn, J.W. & Fisher, J.B. (2011) The Anatomy of Palms. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 251 pp.

Tomlinson, P.B., Fisher, J.B., Spangler, R.E. & Richer, R.A. (2001) Stem vascular architecture in the rattan palm Calamus (Arecaceae-Calamoideae-Calaminae). American Journal of Botany 88: 797–809.

Uhl, N.W. & Dransfield, J. (1987) Genera Palmarum, a classification of palms based on the work of Harold E. Moore Jr. L. H. Bailey Hortorium and the International Palm Society, Lawrence, Kansas, 610 pp.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 1179-3155 (print); ISSN 1179-3163 (online)

Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand