Australian Native Plants

  Calamus australis (Lawyer Cane)

Calamus australis photo
Calamus australis in tropical wilderness of Hinchinbrook island, over Fan Palm Creek

Photograph by Tatiana Gerus. Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Calamus australis photo
Lawyer Cane

Photograph by Tim from Ithaca. Some rights reserved.    (view image details)


distribution map showing range of Calamus australis in Australia

Map is from The Atlas of Living Australia web site, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License

Common Name
Lawyer Cane

Other Names
Wait-a-while, Hairy Mary

Lawyer Cane is a climbing palm that grows as a vine. The leaves are compound with up to forty leaflets making up the leaf. It has many prickly spines on the leaf sheaths and leaf stalks and develops long tendrils from the base of the leaves growing over a metre long with curved hooks along the length. It produces long flower spikes with small flowers from the base of the leaves. The fruit is white and covered in scales, growing to about 1 cm across. When walkers get caught in the hooked tendrils they may have to wait a while to untangle the hooks from their clothing, hence the common name "Wait-a-while".

grows as a climbing vine in rainforest

Calamus australis is found in north east Queensland and Cape York Peninsula.

Growth Characteristics
Height: climber with stems to 35m long

Common Name:Lawyer Cane

Relatives in same Genus
  Calamus caryotoides
  Calamus moti
  Calamus muelleri