What Exactly is Rattan?

You are probably familiar with the style of furniture that is classified as rattan as it has made a huge resurgence in the last few years. But have you ever stopped to think; what exactly is rattan? And what is the difference between rattan and wicker?

Rattan is a plant that grows in rainforests. It can be found in what is called the secondary forest as it requires a lot of light to grow. The majority of raw rattan is found in Indonesia which is responsible for growing 80% of the worlds raw rattan products.

Unlike bamboo which grows almost like a tree, rattan is a creeping plant. It grows from the forest floor using existing trees to climb upwards. It is very strong and lightweight making it ideal for homewares and furniture production. It is also considered a sustainable product as the trees are left standing when the rattan is harvested and as a bonus the raw material can be classified as a non-forest product.

Rattan Plant

Rattan Plant

The first step in bring the rattan from the forest to our shores is harvesting. This is still done by teams of villagers using nothing more than machetes and some amazing climbing skills. The rattan is then cleaned in the river before it can be cured, by smoking it, which turns the its colour from a pale green to the yellow. After the curing process the rattan needs to be dried to remove excess moisture and make the product suitable for use. This is done using the extreme heat that is generated from our sun.

Our beautiful Noosa Bags are handwoven from rattan, the strength and lightweight capabilities of the rattan is evident in this bags flexibility.

Noosa Rattan Bag

Wicker is the hand woven style of weave commonly used with rattan. The two terms are often used interchangeably in furniture and homeware descriptions. Wicker is also used with synthetic materials (commonly outdoor furniture) causing further confusion!


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