coastal plants
Rotan tikus
Flagellaria indica

updated Nov 10
Where seen? This elegant and pretty climber is sometimes seen among shore vegetation and in our back mangroves. Elsewhere, it is also a common climber in moist forests, swamp forests, peat swamp forests and river forests, from sea level to about 1,600m. 'Rotan tikus' means 'Rat's rattan' in Malay.

Features: A climber with a thin long stem (2-15m long), woody at the base but generally green along most of its length. Leaves narrow and long (6-7cm) with a curling tip that winds around other plants. Small white flowers in clusters at the ends of the stem. Fruits round, smooth, shiny berry, green turning pink to orange. Each fruit with only one seed.

Human uses: According to Burkill, its tough stems are used for basket-making and for stitching attaps. The young leaves are used in hair-washing. Various other parts of the plants are also used for other traditional medicinal uses. According to Giesen, it is considered inferior to true rattan. The leaves may be used as a plaster on wounds.

Pulau Semakau, Jan 09

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Mar 09

Pulau Ubin, Aug 09

Pulau Ubin, Aug 09

Sungei Cina, Apr 10


  • Flagellaria indica on Total Vascular Flora of Singapore Online: photos and fact sheet.
  • Giesen, Wim and Stephan Wulffraat, Max Zieren and Liesbeth Scholten. 2006. Mangrove Guidebook for Southeast Asia (PDF online downloadable). RAP publication 2006/07 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok.

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