Australian Ethnobotany

Pamela Slate
Tue, 03 Feb 2009 20:24:07 PST
Hi Everyone,
Very interesting comments about the weather that seems unusual in many places
this year.  Change of subject here while we are all probably gnashing teeth
about the outcome of the wiki situation.

At Boyce Thompson Arboretum where I volunteer, we're talking about in an
Australian Seep exhibit.  In studying a little but very interesting monograph
called "Mutooroo," I found the following entries about bulbous plants but would
like to pass on the definition of mutooroo found in the book - "Aboriginal for
'place where we go for food'."  The following is verbatim and I will thus, not
use quotes:

Crinum pendiculata (River Lily)
This long-leafed plant grows in river banks and can grow to 2m high with highly
scented white flowers.  The leaves were crushed and rubbed on the body to
relieve pain from stings from marine stinging jellyfish.

Curcuma australasica (Cape York Lily)
This lily-like plant grows to 60cm high and is found in Cape York Peninsula and
Arnhem Land.  The leaves die off in winter and before they reappear in the wet,
warm season, a spectacular pink and yellow flower about 40 cm high appears.
Roots were eaten after roasting.

This book was first published in 1984.  I was told that its title "Mutooroo" is
pronounced moo-jer-OOO.  Is this correct?  Also, isn't the correct Crinum name
pendiculatum?  There are also interesting but longer entries for Alocasia and
Calocasia spp. that I'd be glad to share if anyone's interested.

Hoping for the best,
PS Also in this booklet is Clematis glycinoides (Headache Vine) whose "leaves
were crushed and inhaled to cure colds and headache...a very powerful effect on
the nasal passages."

Pamela Slate
P.O. Box 5316
Carefree  AZ  85377

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