Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Calamus moti F.M.Bailey

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Female and sterile male flowers [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Leaf sheath with spines in oblique combs [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Stem showing blade-like spines. © B. Gray
In moderate-elevation rainforest [not vouchered]. © J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem bark transverse section. © CSIRO

Bailey, F.M. (1896) Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock. Botany Bulletin 13: 13. Type: Queensland, Barron River, E. Cowley; holo: BRI(?).

Common name

Cane, Large Lawyer; Cane, Yellow Lawyer; Cane, Yellow Thorny Mary Lawyer; Large Lawyer Cane; Wait-a-while; Yellow Lawyer Cane; Yellow Thorny Mary Lawyer Cane


Vine stem diameters to 3 cm recorded. Vine stem surface smooth and glassy.


Compound leaves about 1 m long. Leaflets 40-100 in each compound leaf, the compound leaf up to 1.6 m long. Leaflet blades linear, about 15-60 x 0.8-2 cm, sessile. Leaflet blade margins armed with fine serrate teeth and the underside is armed with four rows of fine spines to 5 mm long. Compound leaf axis flattened, the underside armed with 3 rows of recurved spines. Tendrils (metres long and armed with recurved hooks) emerge from the sheathing petioles which are armed with rows of flat or blade-like spines. Venation longitudinal and parallel with 2 or 3 veins on each side of the midrib more prominent than the rest.


Male flowers: Inflorescence a narrow panicle about 2-3 m long, borne on the sheathing base opposite the compound leaf petiole. Outer tepals fused to form a cup about 4-5 mm long, lobes about 1 mm long. Inner tepals about 5 mm long, clothed in rusty scales. Stamens 6. Anthers about 3 mm long. Staminal filaments about 3-5 mm long. Rudimentary ovary present. Female flowers: Inflorescence a panicle of curved spikes about 3 m long. Flowers paired, the smaller of each pair being a sterile male flower. Outer tepals about 5 mm long, the outer surface clothed in rusty scurfy scales. Inner tepals about 4 mm long, the outer surface clothed in rusty scurfy scales. Staminodes 6, fused to form a disk surrounding the ovary. Stigmas 3 or 3-armed.


Fruits globular, about 12-13 mm diam., covered with diamond-shaped scales. Seeds about 9 mm diam., concave on one side. Embryo +/- conical, about 2 mm long.


Usually two cataphylls produced before the first true leaves. First true leaf with about six leaflets, spines present on the petiole. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf compound, pinnate, with about 18-20 leaflets, terminal leaflet deeply bilobed. Lateral leaflets sessile, about 12 x 0.7 cm. Petiole ligulate. Petiole armed with numerous spines and the sheathing base of the petiole is also armed with hairs or spines. Leaflet blades V-shaped in transverse section close to their attachment to the compound leaf axis.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from 0-1300 m. Grows in well developed upland rain forest, probably reaching its best development when close to creeks and watercourses.

Natural History & Notes

The large diameter canes of this species have been used in the manufacture of cane furniture.

Distinguishing features: leaf not terminating in a cirrus (whip-like extension armed with spines); apex of pinnae tapered, acuminate; leaf sheath armed with spines arranged in rows.

RFK Code
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