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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 6

With Preparation.—baked Only

With Preparation.—baked Only.


37. Phaseolus Mungo, Linn. Komin (Rockh. tribe), Kadolo (Clev. B. tribe).—Found slightly twining among grass. Stems and branches hairy. Leaflets 3, narrow, 3 to 4 inches long, acute. Flowers pale yellow. Pod cylindrical, 2 to 4 inches long. Roots the shape of small long carrots.

38. Acacia Bidwilli, Benth. Bid will's Acacia. Waneu.—Usually in stony ridges. A small tree, prickly when young. Small leaflet 15 to 25 pairs, J inch long. (Roots of the young plants eatable).

(5 bis). Dioscorea punctata, R. Br. Large old roots.

(6 bis). Helocharis sphacelata, R. Br. The small tubers, baked, are roughly pounded between two stones, and made in the same shape as almond cake.

(7 ter). NymphæA gigantea, Hook. The tubers.

39. Aponogeton sp. Warrumbel (Rkh. tribe), Koornabaie (Cl.B. tribe.)—Shallow water in lagoons and ponds. A small aquatic plant. Leaves oblong, lying on the surface of the water. Rachis erect. Flowers numerous, small, and yellow. Tubers spherical, ½ in. to 1 in. in diameter.


40. Dendrobium canaliculatum, R. Br. Yamberin.—Very abundant on the decayed trunks and branches, principally of gumtree. (The bulbous stems, after being deprived of the old leaves, are eatable.)

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(36 bis). Sterculia quadrifida, R. Br.—The mucilaginous substance of the unripe pod eatable.


41. Avicennia offinalis. Mangrove. Egaie (Clev. Bay tribe), Tagon Tagon (Rkh. tr.).—Generally in estuaries of rivers and creeks. A small tree, but some-times attaining 18 inches in diameter. Small numerous roots protrude at the base of the crooked trunks. Leaves pale green above, and white tomentose underneath. Fruit heart-shaped, with two thick cotyledons. The aboriginals of Cleveland Bay dig a hole in the ground, where they light a good fire; when well ignited they throw stones over it, which, when sufficiently heated, they arrange horizontally at the bottom, and lay on the top the Egaie fruit, sprinkling a little water over it; they cover it with bark, and over the whole earth is placed, to prevent the steam from evaporating too freely. During the time required for baking (about two hours), they dig another hole in the sand; the softened Egaie is put into it; they pour water twice over it, and the Midamo is now fit for eating. They resort to that sort of food during the wet season, when precluded from searching for any other.—Murrell's Testimony. (The late James Murrell was a wrecked sailor, who lived seventeen years amongst one of the Cleveland Bay tribes, in Northern Queensland, Australia). Near Mount Elliott and Cleveland Bay, there is also an eatable root, Wangoora, probably a species of Ipomæa. The roots, very bitter, are cut in two, put into water for one hour or one hour and a half, and are afterwards baked for three or four hours, in the same way as the Egaie; they then carry it in a dilly bag (Yella barda) to the water's edge, where, by pouring water over and pressing it, they make the starch fall upon the bark in the same way as arrowroot falls from the cylinder into the trough; they wash it three or four times until the water is very clear, and the yellow fecula is then fit for use.—Murrell's Testimony. This plant may be the same as the one alluded to by Leichhardt, page 284:—"I tried several methods to render the potatoes, which we had found in the camps of the natives, eatable, but neither roasting nor boiling destroyed their sickening bitter-ness; at last, I pounded and washed them, and procured the starch, which was entirely tasteless, but thickened rapidly in hot water like arrowroot, and was very agreeable to eat, wanting only the addition of sugar to make it delicious—at least, so we fancied."