Bush lawyer – Tātaramoa – is New Zealand’s answer to blackberry, a scrambling thorny climber studded with sharp backwards-curved hooks. Unlike blackberry however, Bush Lawyer can be found in the middle of the forest, snaring unsuspecting trampers in dense spiky tangles. Once it grabs hold of you, it’s unlikely to let go – presumably the rationale behind its curious English name.
Despite the anguish it causes, Bush Lawyer has proved itself a useful and practical plant. Europeans were quick to spot the resemblance with wild blackberry and used the fruit to make stews, preserves and jams. The large thick vines can be cut and drained to produce a juice-like beverage, a valuable source of liquid in a survival situation.
Māori also made use of the fruit, but more important were the bark and leaves which were used in a number of herbal remedies. Infusions were used to treat sore throats, chest complaints, stomach aches and diarrhoea. A vapour bath of the leaves and roots was used as a cleansing remedy after childbirth to assist with removal of the placenta.
Want to learn more about Bush Lawyer?
Nga Tipu Whakaoranga; Maori Plant Use Database
New Zealand Plant Conservation Network
8 thoughts on “Bush Lawyer – Rubus cissoides”
I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your matauranga on our native plants. Your newsletter is impressive and your knowledge is awesome. I enjoy reading about them.
Joanne Hakaraia-Olson Mobile 027 332 8066 http://www.ukaipo.org
Interested in Rongoā Rakau? Visit http://www.forestmauritrails.com
Beneath the veil of the forest She is quietly calling you……
Thanks so much for that Joanne, very glad to hear you enjoy the site.
Best of luck with your forest mauri trails, they look very interesting!
Another fascinating plant! I hadn’t heard of this one either 🙂
It is a neat plant, a real pain though sometimes! Its in the same genus as wild blackberry and can be just as tricky to get out of.