Australian Ethnobotany

Jane McGary
Wed, 04 Feb 2009 09:28:50 PST
Pam asked about Australian ethnobotanical information for an exhibit 
where she volunteers.

>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:
>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.

Pam, there's no such language as "Aboriginal." Australia has many 
native languages in more than one family. If you'd like this 
clarified for your exhibit, I can track down some more rigorous 
information for you. The languages of Australia, most of which are 
extinct or nearing extinction (thanks in part to colonial efforts to 
separate children from their cultures), have been relatively well documented.

Jane McGary

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