Daemonorops sabut

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sabut (SAH-boot)
Keningau, Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Daemonorops
sabut (SAH-boot)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Hair-Spine Rattan. Wi Lepoh (Ib.)

Habitat and Distribution

Daemonorops sabut is found in Borneo, Malaya, Sumatera, and Thailand. Widespread throughout
Singapore. Photo by Kwan.
Brunei. Elsewhere throughout Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia. D. sabut is a frequent rattan usually found in moist soils in valley bottoms and lower hill slopes at altitudes up to c. 500 m above sea level. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.


Clustering moderate-sized climbing rattan palm to 40 m; stem without sheaths about 15 mm in diam., with sheaths to 30 mm in diam., internodes to 15 cm long. Sheaths bright green, bearing complete and partial collars to 10 mm, tipped with black and brown horse-hair-like spines, 1-6 cm long, the longesttending to be paler in colour and all bearing abundant dark grey, caducous indumentum, at least some of the collars interlocking to produce ant galleries; knee conspicuous, usually less heavily armed than the sheath. Leaf cirrate, to 2.5 m long including the petiole to 40 cm and the cirrus to 1 m; petiole armed near the base with low collars bearing black spines, distally with scattered or grouped triangular spines; leaflets very variable in arrangement, to about 20 on each side of the rachis, rarely subregular, usually grouped in 3’s to 6’s, the basal 2 groups being congested and the leaflets pointing in several directions, the longest usually the most basal, to 40 × 2.5 cm, unarmed except for short marginal bristles. Inflorescences pendulous, to 60 cm long, primary bracts densely armed with fine black spines, all except the prophyll quickly falling at anthesis, other bracts inconspicuous. Mature fruit ovoid, very shortly beaked, about 16 × 12 mm, rarely spherical, covered with 14-17 vertical rows of yellowish-brown scales. Seed about 12 × 9 mm; endosperm deeply ruminate. Seedling leaf with divergent leaflets. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

It and D. formicaria are the only species of Daemonorops in Brunei with complete interlocking collars forming ant galleries; D. formicaria is easily distinguished by the narrow linear close, regularly arranged leaflets. We have included three other names as synonyms of D. sabut; although the types of these names appeared to represent distinct species, we now have a range of specimens that are intermediate and we are unable to recognise more than one variable taxon. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: From a local name. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.

Uses: Produces a good quality cane. (J. Dransfield. 1997)/Palmweb.

A slender, clustering rattan from rain or swamp forests on the Malay Peninsula and Borneo that forms thin canes to 20 m (67 ft.) long that snake high up into surrounding trees. The leaves are slightly plumose, with leaflets becoming shorter towards the tip. The leafsheaths are covered in dense, interlocking collars of thin, hairlike spines that form homes for tiny ants which live on the plant and will fiercely protect their nests. The cane has a good quality. (RPS.com)

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Dransfield, J. 1997. The Rattans of Brunei Darussalam. Ministry of Industry and primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam.

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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