Tropical Material Terminology
Bamboo is not a vine but a tropical grass that grows straight out of the ground. Bamboo is hollow with a tough outer shell. It does not flex like rattan and is very difficult to shape. Bamboo splits easily and does not take a finish well
Buri is the center stem or spine of a species of palm. It can also be made out of low quality small rattan vines which can be constructed into furniture.
The narrowest strips of rattan peel are commonly called cane. Cane is woven into chair seats and backs, furniture side panels and accessory pieces.
The outer bark of the rattan, called peel, is removed from the rattan poles during processing and cut into narrow strips of varying widths. Some of these strips are used to wrap and weave on framework.
Raffia is a fiber made from the leafstalks of the raffia palm. It is commonly used in pillows and rugs.
A member of the palm family, rattan is a palm tree that grows like a vine up to 600 feet long in the jungles of the Far East. Cut when it is 7 to 10 years old, the vine quickly replenishes itself.
Reed is a tall slender grass. It is also the name sometimes used for the inner core of the rattan pole.
Wicker is not a material, but a classification of furniture woven from any one of a variety of materials (i.e. rattan, reed, willow, buri, raffia, latania, plastic, metal or any other pliable material).
Willow is a tree or shrub with tough, malleable shoots that are often woven into loose, open designs. Willow is particularly long lasting because it retains its natural moisture for extended periods of time.