Interactive key to the rattans of Lao PDR

Tom Evans and Don Kirkup (2001)

The link below launches the 'Interactive Key to the rattans of Lao PDR'. The key is written in INTKEY and requires that INTKEY is installed on your computer in order to run. Adobe Acrobat Reader will also be needed in order to view the multimedia files. Both of these viewers are free.

This key aims to help you identify the 51 rattans currently known from Lao PDR and neighbouring parts of Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, southern Yunnan and non-Peninsular Thailand). Many have already been found in Lao PDR and all potentially occur there. The key is based on a new taxonomic revision (published in 2002 in Kew Bulletin 57(1): 1-84) and a field guide (Evans, T., Sengdala, K., Viengkham, O. V. and Thammavong, B., 2001, A field guide to the rattans of Lao PDR. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK). All of the background information and species accounts from the field guide are included in this key, together with much additional information and many new images. The interactive design makes it much more flexible than a rigid, paper-based key.

Installing and opening the key

Step 1
If you do not have INTKEY you can get it by clicking here. After downloading and installing the program, return to this page.

Step 2
If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader visit the Adobe website and follow the instructions for download and installation.

Step 3
Once you have INTKEY and Acrobat Reader installed, click on this link to the key and choose 'open file from current location' or the 'Open' button when prompted.

Using the key

To identify an unknown plant start by choosing any character (feature) listed in the upper left hand window. Click on it to show the alternative states and then click on the one(s) which best fit your plant. This will exclude some potential species. Choose another character and repeat the process until only one species is left. Check the identification by reading the attached field guide account. Run through the key a few times, using different characters, to double-check the identification. The online help button [optional text: and the ?authors? hints? button] on the main toolbar give more detailed advice on using the key.

Species numbers in the key are the same as those in the field guide. There are 31 main species described in detail (1, 2, 3 etc.) and also 20 allied species described more briefly (2a, 2b etc.). For any allied species you are advised to read the account for the main species too, since the two species will usually be easy to confuse. Distributions of allied species are mapped together with the main ones, for ease of comparison.

Please note the following important erratum

The correct name for Species 24 is Calamus platyacanthoides E. D. Merrill.


If you would care to give us some feedback on your experiences in using the key we'd be happy to hear from you!


The key is an output of the project 'Diversity and sustainable use of rattans in Lao PDR' funded by the UK government through the Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species.

This was a collaborative project between Oxford Forestry Institute, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Forestry Research Centre (part of the Lao National Agriculture and Forestry Research Centre)


Evans, T. and Kirkup, D. (2001) An interactive key to the rattans of Lao PDR. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey, UK and Oxford Forestry Instititute, Oxford, UK.

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