Marie paints Merne Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) and Merne Utyerrke (Wild Figs)
Marie paints merne arrwerneng, known as the wild passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia). Merne means food in Marie's language and Arrwerneng is the wild passionfruit. The spiny shrub of the arrwerneng produces white, delicate flowers that only last for a day or two, and the fruit that ripen in the summer and last until the winter frosts. When the green fruit ripens, it splits open revealing bright yellow pulp and black seeds. Ants and bird are attracted to this fruit when it is ripe which is why it is commonly picked green by the aboriginal people and allowed to ripen off the plant.
Wild figs grow on a large shrub that is found throughout Central Australia. This shrub has smooth grey bark and large glossy green, leathery leaves that were often used in women's leaf games and love magic. When the figs mature they turn a yellow tint and then to red-brown. These are an important food source and can grow at any time of the year in frost free areas, depending on rainfall. The figs are also an extremely important drought food due to their storage abilities; they can be ground into a paste and rolled into balls for later use. In Aboriginal mythology this plant is also very important and in some places so sacred that anyone known to damage it may be killed.