Marie paints Merne Arrwerneng (Wild Passionfruit) and Merne Pmerlpe (Quandongs)
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.
The pmerlpe (quandong) is a traditional staple food, sought after for its fleshy fruit. It can be found in the southern area of Central Australia where Marie grew up. The quandong is bright red when ripe and highly nutritious; its vitamin C content is twice as high as that of an orange. Sometimes a ripe yellow fruit is encountered. If the fruit has fallen off the tree and gone dry, the fruit can be collected and easily reconstituted in water. In traditional aboriginal life, these fruits were also collected, pounded and made into cakes. The inside of the quandong has a large pitted stone or seed which is often used for marbles or making jewellery.