Common name: southern lawyer cane, wait-a-while
Calamus muelleri H.Wendl. APNI*
Description: Climbers with spines and slender cane-like stems to 20 m high, dioecious.
Leaves alternate, ± sessile, with hooked spines on the rachis and sheath; lamina pinnate, c. 30–50 cm long; segments ± oblanceolate, 9–12, 10–20 cm long, 3–6 cm wide; rachis 16–25 cm long, spiny.
Sterile inflorescences to 1.2 m long. Fertile inflorescence of 2 or 3 simple panicles, c. 1 m long, the terminal end without flowers or spines. Flowers greenish. Male flowers with outer perianth c. 2 mm long; inner tepals 3, 4–5 mm long; stamen 6. Female flowers with outer perianth 1–2 mm long; inner tepals 3 mm long; ovary 3-locular, covered with imbricate scales.
Fruit globose, c. 12 mm diam., covered with scales, yellow to cream.
Distribution and occurrence: North from the Bellinger R.
Grows in rainforest on the coast and lower ranges.
NSW subdivisions: NC
Other Australian states: Qld
Aboriginal people used the stems for weaving. Surveyors in the early part of European settlement used one chain lengths of the stems as standard measures
Text by A. K. Brooks
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.