Bamboo and Rattan/Rattan/Course-1 Unit-2a

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5.2 Introduction

Rattan is extensively used in the manufacture of a wide range of furniture and handicraft items for low, medium and high-end markets. Most of the raw material of the local industry is obtained by harvesting the wild rattan resources from the natural forests. The demands coming from both domestic as well as international markets resulted in the over-exploitation of canes. This, along with the destruction of the natural forests, has resulted in some useful rattans becoming scarce or even being reduced to very low population levels in many areas. The naturally available quantity of canes is not sufficient to meet the increasing demands. This wide gap between demand and supply can be minimized by augmenting the existing resources by large scale cultivation in the natural habitat. The large scale cultivation warrants detailed knowledge of seed collection, propagation methods, nursery and planting practices.

5.3 Flowering and fruiting

Rattans are dioecious, male and female plants being separate. Flowering generally occurs annually. The flowering time varies with the species and locality. In general, mature fruits can be collected for most of the species during March to June.

5.3.1 Fruits

The shape and size of the fruit varies considerably with the species (Figs
1). Each fruit is covered with vertical rows of reflexed overlapping scales.
The scales are often hard and shiny and are frequently grooved vertically
along the midline (Fig. 2).

Plants can be easily raised from seeds. When seeds are not available in
sufficient quantities, other methods such as suckers and rhizomes or tissue
culture techniques can be used for seedling production, but the cost of
production will be more.

Fig. 1. Fruits. A. Daemonorops aureus B. Calamus thwaitesii C.
Korthalsia laciniosa

5.4 Seeds

Fig.2.C.thwaitesii - single fruit

The fruits of rattans contain only one seed each. If the scaly fruit cover
is easily detached when pressed in between fingers, the fruits are ripe
enough for collection. The outer scaly cover of the fruit and the fleshy
inner part should be removed before the seeds are sown (Figs.3-4). Otherwise
the germination percentage will be lower. The scaly cover is removed by
crushing the fruits with hands or by crushing the seeds under foot after
mixing with sand. Subsequently, the seeds are soaked in water for about 48
hours to induce fermentation. The fleshy part of the seed is removed by
rubbing with hands. Cleaned seeds can be stored for a week in a moist area.
Seeds should not be dried as dry seeds fail to germinate.

Fig. 3. Removal of the outer cover 5.5 Seed collection

5.6 Seed processing



Seed storage:

5.7 Seed storage

It is better to sow the seeds fresh soon after extraction. However, a longer
period of storage is sometimes necessary due to the large quantity of fruits
being harvested. Fruits can be stored in closed plastic bags for one month
at room temperature, and for 3 months at temperatures between 10 C and 14
C. The moisture content of seeds must be kept between 45 per cent and 55
per cent during the storage period. A moisture content of more than 60 per
cent will induce seed germination during storage and less than 40 per cent
will decrease the seed viability. Generally no other treatment is needed
before sowing. If the seeds show signs of fungal infection, these can be
treated with fungicides – Captan or Bavistin. 1 kg of seed is mixed with 3 g
of fungicide in a container and shaken well so that each seed gets the
powdery coating.

5.8 Seed germination