Rattan Palm

khao sokSouth East Aisa’s tropical forest support more than 100 plants families with several thousand tree species, the greatest botanical diversity on earth. If there is one family, however that is the unchallenged winner of the diversity contest, that family is Palmee-the palms. More than 1300 species of palm grow in this realm, again the greatest concentration in the world. Some palms are medium sized like the coconut, bettlenut and choke palm. Other are small trees of the understory like the clock palms so common in the Khao sok forest. Still other are lianas, like the climbing rattan palm you can see here. This particular species of rattan has evolved a very effective strategy for working its way quickly up into the light which realm the canopy. Note the long slender (almost invisible) tendrils covered in miniature barbs which this rattan palm dangles. The liana is in some sense fishing with these hooks, hoping to catch hold of faster growing plant that can help pull it up and lend support on its climb towards the light. Rattan vines are amazingly strong yet flexible, both excellent qualities for crafting them into beautiful rattan furniture.