Ivory, horns of all kinds, rhinoceros, buffalo, stag, seahorse, walrus tusks, etc, are also largely used.

In enumerating the materials used in the manufacture of walking sticks it has been thought best to classify them in alphabetical order according to their commercial names. Though the following is a fairly complete list, and represents most of those exhibited in the Kew Museum, it is by no means an exhaustive list, additions being frequently made.


The name of this stick designates its peculiar colouring rather than its botanical origin, and any stick that is sufficiently strong, and lends itself readily to artificial colouring, is used, such as crab, dogwood, etc.; the specimens at Kew are the produce of a hard-wooded shrub or small tree, found in the forests of Mid and Southern Europe, probably belonging to the dogwood order. The sticks, in their prepared form, have found much favour for ladies' umbrella and sunshade handles. They are made in various shapes, but the colour is generally bluish or greyish, with a metallic lustre, and occasional dark streaks.

Apse Or Asp

This is the wood of the aspen (Populus tremula); it is very light both in colour and weight, and has little else, perhaps, to recommend it for walking sticks. The supply is obtained from our own country.

Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior)

This tree furnishes a variety of sticks, known in trade under different names, as, for instance, the root ash, which consists of the saplings with the roots attached, which form the handle; then there is the cross-head, in which the roots, instead of forming a somewhat globular knob, take a twist at right angles from the stem. These, as has been before stated, have been grown, and so directed during their growth, on a large scale in Surrey during the last two or three years. The figured ash is another form, in which the bark has been scarified into various designs during growth, and on healing has left a permanent marking. These latter are, perhaps, more curious than beautiful, but still they have their admirers. The ash can be treated in various ways with the bark either left ■ on or removed. Some of those with the bark remaining, when properly cleaned, dressed, and polished, make very pretty sticks, and are not unlike those of the orange.


The bamboos furnish a great variety, and a very large bulk of the material used by the walking-stick maker. They come, of course, chiefly from the East, but their botanical sources are difficult to determine. Amongst those which may be called true bamboos, namely, those furnished by the genus Bambusa, may be mentioned the Whampoa bamboo, probably the produce of Bambusa mctake. They are noted for their irregular jointing; they are of a clean, lemon-yellow colour, and not long since were much used for sunshade handles. They are imported from China. The yellow bamboo and the black bamboo are also well known, their colours being indicated by their commercial names. These canes are imported from Japan and China, and are no doubt the produce of species of Bambusa, as is also probably the beetle-cane, so named from its intensely black colour and its scaly appearance near the root, which, however, makes it very pretty. This is also the product of a Chinese species. The dog-head bamboo is not a true bamboo, but is furnished by a species of Arundinaria, a closely-allied genus. The name dog-head has been given to this stick from the natural, growth of the rhizome roughly representing the head of a dog, so that it is easily carved and converted into good representations of dogs' heads.

These sticks are imported from China.


This is apparently the produce of a palm, but at present its origin remains unknown. The sticks are imported from Singapore.

Bay Tree Or Laurier Thyn

These sticks are apparently the produce of a species of Eugenia, though nothing definite is known about them. The wood is very hard and close-grained, almost white in colour, but with a cinnamon brown bark covering the irregular root, which makes good handles for umbrellas. They are imported from Algeria.


This wood is of a dull reddish colour, close and even grained. It is apparently cut from the trunk of a large tree, perhaps that of Ardisia coriacea. It is imported from Cuba.

Beetle Cane

See Bamboo.


The saplings of Belula alba. The roots make good handles, and the supply is obtained from our own country.


This well-known hedge plant, known also as the sloe (Primus spinosa), makes excellent walking sticks. There is always a demand for them, for when properly dressed and polished there is no other stick that has so dark a coloured bark. Latterly there has been a large sale for a special kind of blackthorn brought from Ireland, and known as Irish blackthorns. They are distinct from the ordinary blackthorn in being flattened instead of cylindrical.

Black Tork

The botanical origin of this stick has not been determined. It has a dark-coloured bark, and the root forms an irregular knotted handle. The wood, which is hard and close-grained, forms a very rigid stick, revealing, when the bark is taken off, a dark brown wood with occasional light patches. It is imported from the West Indies,

Boxwood, Persian

This is the true box (Buxus sempervirens), the wood of which is so well known as to need no description. The irregularity of the branches recommends it, when peeled of its bark, for walking sticks, and the sticks cut out of the solid trunk make good umbrella sticks, besides which it is often carved into various devices for ladies* sunshades. Another kind of wood, very similar in appearance to true box, but known as West Indian boxwood, is used to some extent for the same purposes. The West Indian boxwood of botanists is Vitex wnbrosa, but this wood does not agree with that, and at present cannot be satisfactorily identified.