There are five economically important rattan species which provide the raw material for the rattan cottage industry in Ghana. In the wild, these species are easily identified by their morphological and taxonomical features like leaves, flowers, fruits and spines. However identification of different rattan species of equal stem diameter can pose a problem especially when all the vegetative features used in identification are removed. In addition to the identification problem, poor harvesting technique of rattan from the wild without cultivation have led to scarcity of rattan supply especially Eremospatha macrocarpa which is the most widely used and exploited species. Hence, the sustainability of the rattan industry in Ghana is threatened.
Cultivation of rattans remains the best option for sustaining the industry. Therefore basic comprehensive research on rattans such as taxonomy, ecology and anatomy that would help the conservation of genetic resources and propagation of superior rattans is necessary. Study of the anatomy, in particular, will facilitate better identification and aid in understanding of species quality for future plantation establishment and hence enable us to widen the scope of the utilizable species in Ghana.
The main aim of this study therefore is to conduct a comprehensive study on the anatomical features of five economic rattan species of Ghana to aid in their identification, quality and understand their physical properties for effective development, processing and utilization.
In: New research on African rattans. Proceedings No. 9. Sunderland, T.C.H. and Profizi, J.P. (Eds.). pp. 16-32. Forest Research Institute of Ghana. Kumasi, Ghana. International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR). ISBN:962-85124-201-8.