Diagram with a circle in the centre and images of plants around it - the MalakMalak and Matngala Plant Knowledge Calendar.

MalakMalak and Matngala plant knowledge

The MalakMalak and Matngala Plant Knowledge Calendar

Traditional knowledge can tell us much about the ecology of northern Australia. MalakMalak traditional owners from the Daly River region in the Northern Territory worked with CSIRO to create a seasonal calendar of plant knowledge. (1 page)

  • 27 April 2011

Members of the MalakMalak language group, who are Traditional Owners of the country around Nauiyu Nambiyu, worked with CSIRO to document and produce the MalakMalak and Matngala plant knowledge calendar. The calendar highlights important food and medicine plants and the MalakMalak seasons they are available in the Daly River catchment.

For example, ripe pinyyakper (Morinda citrifolia), is chewed to treat cold and flu, while the leaves and pods of darik (Acacia auriculiformis) can be rubbed in water to produce a soapy lather used for both washing and as a fish poison, to stun fish in small pools. The bark of elu (Buchanania obvata) is used in a preparation for the treatment of skin sores and fungal infections, while the flowering of yyety (Cochlospermum fraseri) signals that freshwater crocodile eggs are ready to be collected and eaten.

The calendar was developed as part of a Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (www.track.gov.au/ [external link]) project on Indigenous socio-economic values and rivers flows in northern Australia.

Emma Woodward, Biddy Lindsay, Helen Kuwarda, Frances Miljat, Rita Pirak. and Kitty Waliwararra. 2010. MalakMalak and Matngala Plant Knowledge, Daly River, Northern Territory, Australia. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Darwin.