We are currently experiencing a fault with our phone line. Please phone 5494 3023 to contact the Rainforest Discovery Centre.

Jini / Lawyer Vine
Ben Lockens
Calamus muelleri 

Jini / Lawyer Vine

A spiky palm that climbs like a vine.

The Jinibara, the custodians of the land on which Mary Cairncross is found take their name from this plant. Jini - Laywer Vine and bara - people. They are the people of the Jini or Lawyer Vine. 

The spiky palm grows as a vine with prickles and hooks along its leaf-sheath and leaves.  Whip-like flagellum up to 3m long splay outwards and are covered in recurved hooks.  When brushed against, the hooks latch onto clothing or skin, entangling the person - hence the other name this plant is known by, ‘wait a while’. While humans may not be fond of the spikes, small birds use the spikes to their advantage. Yellow-throated Scrubwrens and other small birds often build their nest on the spikey stem which provides protection from climbing reptiles.

Lawyer Vine flowers grow on a long spike and develop into small, edible white fruit. Aboriginal peoples throughout Queensland have used the Lawyer Vine for food and fibre.  The flexible, long spiked flagellum can be attached as a fishing hook or used to pull out larvae from timber. The strong and flexible cane is also a weaving material used in basketry, shelter, binding tools, traps and handles.