Dead Finish (Acacia tetragonophylla)
Arrernte name: Arlketyerre
Arrernte seeds: Merne ntange arlketyerre
Often found as a straggly looking shrub that can grown to about 2-3 metres high,
the common name for this shrub is 'Dead Finnish'. There is a number of reasons
for this name, being that 'when the cows start eating the Dead Finish bush,
everything else has died' or 'in a bad drought, this is the last bush to die'.
The Aboriginal name for the plant, from the Warlpiri language is 'Kurara'.
This wattle grows in a variety of soils and conditions from dry sandy regions,
dry stony hillsides and desert regions of Australia.
Each golden globular flower grows on its own stalk, singularly or in clusters of
2-5 from the bases of four-sided needle-like leaf clusters. The leaves are spiny
with sharp points. The seed pods are curved, narrow and twisted with
constrictions between the seeds.
The Aborigines use the plant in a number of 'bush medicine' applications. The
Arrernte people use the sharp spiky leaves to treat warts. The bark from roots
is also steeped in water to make an antiseptic solution for treating sores. They
also gather the seeds grinding them for cakes, although they are also known to
eat the seeds raw.