Rattan is the name for the roughly hundred species of palms in the tribe Calameae, native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia. Most rattans are distinct from other palms in having slender stem 2-5 cm diameter with long intermodes between the leaves; their consequent growth habit also fiffers, not being trees but vine-like, scrambling through and over other vegetation.
They are also superficially similar to bamboo, but distinct in that the stems ("malacca") are solid, rather tahn hollow, and also in their need for some sort of support; while bamboo can grow on its own, rattan cannot. Many rattans spiny, the spines acting as hooks to aid climbing over other plants, and also to deter herbivores.
Rattans have been known to grow up to hundreds of metres long. Most (80%) of the world's rattan population exist in Indonesia, distributed among Borneo, Celebes, Sumbawa islands.