Mai Putitja and Irmangka-Irmangka

Bush Tucker and Bush Medicine

around Coober Pedy

Contents Introduction Bibliography
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Kurku, Tjarulka and Kurkunytjungu



Acacia aneura      Mulga

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Kurku - Mulga tree

Kurku or Mulga (Acacia aneura) is a common plant throughout the arid zone, which can be found in both breakaways and sandhill country. It is a small tree that grows up to 12 metres high, with rough dark bark and small cylindrical yellow flower spikes. These trees live to a great age. The tree is versatile, and can be used for a great many things.

The Kalka (Mulga seed) can be roasted and ground with water to make an edible paste, which is very nutritious being high in both protein and fat.



Mulga Apple

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Tjarulka - Mulga Apple
photo  Tim Low

The Tjarulka (Mulga Apple) is a marble shaped wasp gall, with small lumps on the outside, and is edible. The small white grub in the centre of the gall is regarded as the sweetest part.



Austrotachardia acaciae     Red Mulga Lerp

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Kurkunytjungu - Red Mulga Lurp
photo  Tim Low

Kurkunytjungu or Red Mulga Lerp (Austrotachardia acaciae) are small insects on the outer branches of Mulga trees. They exude a honey dew to protect themselves from animals. This honeydew is very sweet, and can be sucked straight off the branch, or the whole thing can be soaked in water as a sweet drink.


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Kurku Gum - Gum on a Mulga branch
photo  Tim Low

The pale gum from the branches of Mulga trees can also be eaten, and is regarded as a delicacy.

The wood of the Mulga is easy to work when green, yet dries to a hard strong texture and rarely splits. For this reason, the wood can be used for making digging sticks, boomerangs, containers, and other wooden tools.

It also makes good firewood, and ash from burning Mulga twigs can be mixed with Native Tobacco to make a chewing tobacco. Mulga leaves can also be used as a good mat for placing food.

Associated with Mulga are Tjala (Honey Ants) (Camponotus inflatus) which build their nests in the ground beneath these trees. Growing on the branches of Mulga can be found Mistletoe, another important bush tucker plant.

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