The Spring Pandanus – also sometimes referred to as the Screw Palm, (Pandanus spiralis), is one of the most conspicuous and useful plants in north Australia. The Kunwinjku name for Pandanus is kundayarr.
Pandanus is an important food resource and provides different types of food from the seed, fruit, cabbage and peduncle. It is also used for a range of medicinal purposes including treating headaches, toothache, infected wounds, diarrhoea, mouth and throat sores, ulcers, back pain and many other afflictions. It is also used as fish poison, to make rafts, toys, didgeridoos, ropes, as a dye, to light fires, to carry fires, and as a totem for some clans.
However, this classical interpretation of Pandanus is based on its iconic use as a base for fibre crafts by an artist steeped in contemporary fibre craft expertise and coming from a line of famous fibre craft artists. Deborah’s deceased grandfather was a renowned fish-trap artisan whose works are displayed in many museums and galleries in Australia and overseas.