The soil to the depth of many feet, and from it springs the most marvellous tangle of huge trees, shrubs, bushes, underwood, creepers, climbing plants and trailing vines, the whole hung with ferns, mosses, and parasitic growths, and bound together by rattans and huge rope-like trailers.
The Malays also work jungle produce, of which the most important are gutta, rattans, agila wood, camphor wood, and the beautiful kamuning wood which is used by the natives for the hilts of their weapons.
Camphor, sugar, tea, indigo, ground peanuts, jute, hemp, oil and rattans are all articles of export.
The chief exports consist of rice, rattans, torches, dried fish, areca-nuts, sesamum seeds, molasses, sea-slugs, edible birds' nests and tin.
The coast region is characterized by mangroves, Pandanus, rattans, and similar palms with long flexible stems, and the middle region by the great rice-fields, the coco-nut and areca palms, and the usual tropical plants of culture.
The produce of the Eastern Islands is also collected at its ports for re-exportation to India, China and Europe - namely, gold-dust, diamonds, camphor, benzoin and other drugs; edible bird-nests, trepang, rattans, beeswax, tortoiseshell, and dyeing woods from Borneo and Sumatra; tin from Banka; spices from the Moluccas; fine cloths from Celebes and Bali; and pepper from Sumatra.
But the way in which they usually diverge just over and in front of the eye has suggested the more probable idea, that they serve to guard these organs from thorns and spines while hunting for fallen fruits among the tangled thickets of rattans and other spiny plants.
Gutta, rubber, rattans, mangrove-bark, edible nuts, guano, edible birds'-nests, &c., are all valuable articles of export.
Bamboos grow everywhere along the outer ranges, and rattans to the eastward, and are largely exported for use in the plains.
As large vessels can sail up to the town, it is a trade centre for the products of the districts along the banks of the Barito and Martapura, such as benzoin, rattans, wax, gold, diamonds, iron and weapons.