Rattan material is cylindric, lightweight, and yellowish-beige or light brown [[color]]ed. Its main difference to other canes such as [[bamboo]] is that rattan is spongy-solid, not hollow, and very flexible. It is the special flexibility of rattan that makes it popular for a multitude of uses.
There are roughly 600 species of rattan, but only a few species are used commercially. Commercially harvested and processed rattan comes in diameters from a few millimeters up to 5-7 cm. Most (70%) of the world's rattan population exists in [[Indonesia]]. The rest of the world's supply comes from the [[Philippines]], [[Sri Lanka]], Malaysia and [[Bangladesh]].
After harvesting, rattan is usually peeled to create a smooth surface and to remove the spines that some species have; in further processing, it is cut to the desired lengths. It is used for making [[furniture]], baskets, [[carpet beater]]s, walking canes, staves for martial arts, and various other uses. Rattan can be painted, like [[wood]], but usually it is only transparently varnished to keep the natural look of the product.