Purrpalanji Jukurrpa

Purrpalanji Jukurrpa

Purrpalanji or skinny bush banana is a twining climber with thin leaves and pink-brown flowers. It’s bean like edible pods are long and skinny and can grow up to 20cm long. It is fire tolerant and grows quickly whenever moisture is available perfect for a desert environment. Like Yuparli (another type of bush banana) all the plant is eaten aside from the woody stems.

This Purrpalanji Jukurrpa comes from Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs), a large waterhole and natural spring to the west of Yuendumu, close to Mount Doreen. Napangardi and Napanangka women and Japangardi and Japanangka men are the owners of the skinny bush banana Dreaming at Pikilyi. Nangala women and Jangala men are the Kurdungurlu or custodians of this Dreaming.

Napangardi and Napanangka women collect Purrpalanji and Yuparli around Pikilyi in their coolamons. They cook the Bush Banana’s in hot ashes to get rid of the acidic taste they can have when eaten raw. The skinny bush banana Dreaming is only associated with Pikilyi and does not travel to other locations. Pikilyi is an important site associated with several different Dreaming’s, these include Bush Banana, Blue Mallee Seed, Cockatoo and Two Snakes Dreaming. In the two snakes Dreaming story Napangardi and Napanangka women picked lice of the two snakes living at the waterhole at Pikilyi.

In Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa and other elements. Curved lines are used to represent the long, skinny edible portions of the skinny bush banana.

Aboriginal word glossary