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Mai Putitja and Irmangka-Irmangka

Bush Tucker and Bush Medicine

around Coober Pedy

Contents Introduction Bibliography
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Aparuma and Apara



Eucalyptus socialis      Red Mallee

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Aparuma - Red Mallee

Aparuma, the Red Mallee (Eucalyptus sociallis), is a multi-stemmed Eucalypt with red branch tips (hence its name) and cream coloured flowers. The bark is rough at the base of the tree and smooth above. It grows to five metres. This mallee is found in breakaways country, where it prefers limestone soils.

The leaves of this plant have Ngapari (Lerps) (Psylla eucalypti) growing on them, an insect that produces a sugary scale to cover itself. This scale has a sweet taste, and can be eaten straight off the tree. Aparuma flowers are also used to obtain honey for eating, and the roots of this plant provide a source of water in the arid zone.

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Ngapari - lerps - on Red Mallee Leaves

The leaves of Red Mallee also contain Eucalypt oil, known for its ability to cure the symptoms of colds and flu. Leaves from this plant can be used to sleep on, and the body heat will release the oils. A liniment for massaging areas of the body affected by cramps and pain is also made by boiling the leaves in water.


Eucalyptus camaldulensis      River Red Gum

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Apara - Red River Gum

Apara the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) is a large tree commonly found along desert creeks, with smooth whitish bark and red streaks. It also has Ngapari on its leaves, and its seeds are edible. Maku Unganungu, the edible grub of the Hepialid Moth (Trictena argentata), can be found in its roots, while another type of grub, Ilytjaliti, is found in the trunk and branches of this tree.


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Scar where bark has been removed from the trunk of a River Red Gum to make ash

Apara roots can be used to fashion wooden implements such as bowls, and the bark is stripped off to be burnt to ash, which is mixed with Mingkulpa (Native Tobacco) (Nicotiana spp.) to make a chewing tobacco.

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