Alpar is the Anmatyerre word for the rat-tail goosefoot or green crumbweed plant (Dysphania kalpari). This small herb produces small clustered flowers that form long spikes, resembling that of a rat tail, as well as small black shiny seeds. These seeds are high in protein and low in fibre. Due to the sticky nature of this plant, the seeds are not shed as soon as they mature, making them available much later in the season than most other plants. In the olden days, the women of Ilkawerne country would collect these seeds, sometimes soak them in water until swollen or cooked in hot coals, and then grind them into a powder that was used for making damper (bread). This practice is not as habitual now, however, the story is continually taught to the younger ones, and ceremonies are carried out to ensure its productivity.
Name: Maggie Bird
Skin name: Mpetyane
Language group: Anmatyerre
Lives: Utopia, Central Australia
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