A clump-forming, medium sized, water-loving, fast growing, dioecious, forest understorey, climbing palm. Not known in cultivation, rare in the wild. It has spiny, green stems, 4 m. (13 ft.) tall, 1 cm. (0.5 inch) diameter with no obvious leaf scars, and large segmented, pinnate (feather) leaves, 0.9 m. (3 ft.) long, 0.6 m. (2 ft.) wide, light green above and beneath. Flagella absent Cirri absent.
Calamus spicatus can tolerate close to freezing conditions. But low temperatures are best avoided. It naturally occurs in wet rainforest or seasonally wet forest in low montane locations. In this type of natural environment temperature fluctuations are slight, and this palm prefers a constantly cool or mild climate with little temperature difference between day & night, and Summer & Winter. Under extreme cold conditions we recommend you keep this palm as dry as possible, and well wrapped up.
Stems clustered, 3-4 m long and to 1 cm diameter (with leaf sheaths). Leaf sheaths green with reddish-brown tomentum, sparsely to densely covered with brown or black, flattened, horizontally spreading spines to 1 cm long; knees present; ocreas less than 0.5 cm long, with spines as the sheath; flagella not seen, absent?; petioles 22-44 cm long, sparsely covered laterally and abaxially with straight spines to 1 cm long; rachis 43-65 cm long, abaxially with few, recurved, solitary spines; pinnae 4-10 per side of rachis, lanceolate, arranged in distant groups or solitary, 24-37 cm long, 2-2.5 cm wide, minutely spiny along the margins, the apical pair of pinnae free or briefly joined at their bases; cirri absent. Inflorescences to 2 m long, flagellate; partial inflorescences inserted near or just below the mouth of the partial inflorescence bracts; partial inflorescence bracts closely sheathing the main axis, becoming split, not bristly at the apex, with recurved spines; staminate inflorescences branched to two orders, with up to 7 partial inflorescences; rachillae 6-10.5 cm long, the terminal rachilla of a partial inflorescence the longest; rachillae bracts distichously arranged, to 3.5 mm long; floral bracteoles to 1 mm long, glabrous except for ciliate margins; staminate flowers to 4 mm long, to 44 per rachilla, arranged alternately and distichously along the rachillae; calyx 2.5 mm long, tubular except for the 3-lobed apex; corolla 4 mm long, with 3 valvate petals free to the base; pistillode 1 mm long; pistillate inflorescences branched to one order, with 2-4 partial inflorescences, each consisting of a single rachilla; rachillae 7-16 cm long; rachillae bracts distichously arranged, glabrous, to 3 mm long; pistillate flowers to 40 per rachilla, borne alternately and distichously along the rachillae; sepals to 3.5 mm long, connate basally for ca. two-thirds their length, lobed above; petals to 3 mm long, free; fruits not seen.
Observation: Kachin: Ledo road, N of Shinbwiyang, 963 m
(Kachin, Sagaing) lowland forest at 500-1040 m elevation.