Print this page Larger Text Smaller Text

Merne - Plant Food

Image of Arrernte Elder MK Turner(Mer-na) is foods that are obtained from plants: seeds, fruits, stems, leaves, flowers, roots, bulbs, tubers and galls.



Arrernte Merne ntange arlketyerre
English Dead Finish seeds
Scientific Acacia tetragonophylla
Story When you see the seed pod is ripe you pick them, cook them in the hot earth and eat them.
Arrernte Merne ntange ulyawe
English Pigweed seed
Scientific Portulaca oleracea
Story You collect them, mash them up on a grinding stone and leave it for the juice to drain to one side of the stone. You lick up the juice and make the seed pulp into a patty and eat it.


Arrernte Merne awele-awele
English Bush Tomato
Scientific Solanum ellipticum
Story These are ripe when they are yellow, you can smell them from a long way away. You can eat them raw or cook them. You put them in the hot earth by the fire, sprinkle some water on them and cover them with warm soil.
Arrernte Merne atyankerne
English Mistletoe berries
Scientific Amyema preisii
Story You find it growing on Mulga trees. You can pick them off one by one or shake it so the fruit fall down to the ground. You don't chew them because they stick to your tongue.
Arrernte Merne alangkwe
English Bush Banana fruit
Scientific Marsdenia australis
Story You pick these off the vine when they are small and eat them. They taste like peas.

Stems and Leaves

Arrernte Merne altyeye
English Bush Banana leaves
Scientific Marsdenia australis
Story You cook the leaves and stems in the hot earth.


Arrernte Merne ulkantyerrknge
English Bush Banana flowers
Scientific Marsdenia australis
Story The flowers hang in clusters. They look and taste like brocolli.


Arrernte Merne atnetye
English Bush Banana roots
Scientific Marsdenia australis
Story You cook up these really white ones in hot dirt and eat them. It gives you a good appetite.
Arrernte Merne arlatyeye
English Pencil Yam
Scientific Carissa lanceolata
Story You dig them up in creekbeds. Some are big and fat and others are long and thin. You cook them in hot soil until they are just firm.


Arrernte Merne yalke
English Wild Onions
Scientific Cyperus bulbosus
Story You dig them up from the creek bed when the grass of the plant has dried out, the bulb is ready. You rub them between your hands to husk it and eat it. You can cook them in the hot earth near the fire and they go soft.


Arrernte Merne anatye
English Bush Potato
Scientific Ipomoea costata
Story You dig for bush potatoes in the cracks around the plant. You have to dig a big hole to find them. You cook them in the hot earth then share them around.


Arrernte Merne arrkrlpangkwerle
English Bush Coconut
Scientific Cysticoccus pomiformis (insect)
Corymbia opaca (tree)
Story You knock the insect gall out of the Bloodwood Tree with a rock the you hit it with another rock to split it open. The little insect inside is called angure, you eat it and it is full of water. The white flesh of the coconut is also eaten.

Compare with Sonoran Desert culture.