Young Japheth Miller enjoys his bush tucker and in this photo he’s found a tuber of Brachystelma glabriflorum, called badjdjo in the Kundedjnyenghmi dialect of Bininj Kunwok. Western agriculture has also recently discovered this indigenous food plant and its tuberous stem has been identified as a potential new food crop. This little round yam has white, sweet and tasty flesh. The stems are only above the ground in the wet season. They can be eaten raw or lightly roasted in hot ashes and sand.
The fruit Japheth Miller is enjoying is called Djarduk in the Kundedjnyenghmi dialect of Bininj Kunwok, a language of the Western Arnhem Land Plateau. Its english common name is Red Bush Apple Tree and its botanic name is Syzygium sub-orbiculare. It’s a spreading medium tree favouring sandy soils near creeks where its roots can readily find moisture. Although the fruit is about the size of a tennis ball the seed inside is about ping pong ball-sized, leaving less than a centimetre of pulpy flesh available to snack on. In general it has a tart and acidic taste, not unpleasant at all and quite refreshing in the hot times of early to mid wet season when the fruit ripens. The taste varies a lot from place to place, some are sweeter and some more tart. Clean white sand with plenty of sub-surface water yields the best fruit in my experience.