Ruby Djikarra Alderton
Image: 30 x 30 cm, Paper: 48 x 35 cm Somerset
This is a print of the flowers that grow near the saltwater. This is also a medicine for when you get stung by a jellyfish. The plant is Rowu (or Murukun) “Beach Morning Glory” Ipomoea pes-caprae. Rirratjiŋu Ethnobotany (at p.50) says “A prostrate plant that has pink flowers, it occurs on open sandy beaches and coastal areas. The tuberous roots are eaten after roasting them in ashes and peeling off the bark. The flesh is pale yellow and fibrous, and tastes like sweet potato. The leaves are used to stop bleeding from open cuts: they are heated on a fire and then applied to a wound. The pink flowers are called Baliyam.” This treatment is also used for stone fish or other marine stings as well as insect envonomations. The Rowu vine appears in the Dhuwa epic song poetry as a metaphor for the ropes used by the ancestral Turtle Hunters and for the sacred string with feathered tassels which decorate the Morning Star pole in Banumbirr ceremony.
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