Merne Alangkwe (Bush Banana) MB056652-Therese Ryder

Acrylic on Canvas
45 x 30cm
Year Painted


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Merne Alangkwe (Bush Banana) MB056652-Therese Ryder

Therese paints women collecting merne alangkwe, known as the bush banana (Leichhardtia). Merne means food in Therese's language and Alangkwe is the banana. The woody, winding vine of the bush banana plant can be found climbing up other native trees and shrubs in Central Australia. It produces creamy white flowers and long skinny green leaves. This plant grows very quickly after rain and about a month later the fruits ripen and are collected by the Aboriginal people. This is an important and favoured food, eaten raw. The sweet flowers, leaves and roots can also be eaten. If not collected before maturation, the banana eventually opens up and releases numerous seeds with white feathery plumes (similar to a dandelion) that are carried by the wind for long distances to begin regermination. The fruit at this stage can still be eaten, but are favoured cooked. Aboriginal people often use the plumes for decorative purposes in ceremonies.

Therese illustrates the vine, leaves, flowers and fruit of the bush banana plant when it is ripe and ready to eat raw.

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Located at
Mbantua Alice Gallery (MGA)