Awalk

(AH-wahlk)

White Currant

Flueggia virosa

Description

Spreading shrub to 2 m high; leaves oval shaped, 4-9 cm long, slightly paler below; flowers small, cream; fruit globular to 7 mm diameter, white when ripe. Found in variety of habitats. Flowers October-February. Fruit October-April.

Uses

The fruit are eaten when they are ripe (white), it fruits during the early wet season, yirrung, in early January.

The dry straight stems are used as firesticks, kijbu to light fire using the traditional method. A straight, smooth, narrow stem is cut to about 40 cm long, and a broader heavier piece is cut and a small round hole with a vee carved into it. One end of the narrow stick is placed in the hole of the heavier stick. The narrow stick is then rotated quickly between the palms with a strong downward pressure. This creates friction which in turn creates a very hot, fine dust. This dust pours down the vee carved into the wood onto a clump of fine dry grass previously placed underneath. The grass and the very hot dust are gently blown upon until flame appears.

(Source: Blake, N., Wightman, G., and Williams, L. 1998. Iwaidja Ethnobotany, p. 74. NT Botanical Bulletin No. 23, Parks and Wildlife Commission, Darwin.)