Talking Mungee – a teacher, provider, connector, exemplar: what’s not to celebrate about the world’s largest mistletoe, Nuytsia floribunda

Alison Lullfitz, Lynette Knapp, Shandell Cummings, Jessikah Woods, Stephen D. Hopper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Endemic to Noongar Country of southwestern Australia, the charismatic and much-loved mistletoe, Nuytsia floribunda (Labill.) R.Br. ex G.Don (Munjee/Moodjar in Noongar language), was the subject of a 2010 review which explored aspects of its cultural importance and botanical attributes based largely on early colonial accounts and scientific findings. Our purpose was to apply cross-cultural methods to review and update findings reported by Hopper (2010). Methods: We have recently explored this iconic species through a collaborative Elder-led, cross-cultural process, largely through oral accounts of contemporary Merningar Noongar knowledge holders. Results: We record previously unpublished insights relating to Nuytsia floribunda, and longheld Noongar custom relating to its conservation, use and multi-faceted relationships with southwestern Australia’s First Nations peoples. We present Noongar- and Western science-derived knowledge relating to the physiology, ecology and evolution of this species. Conclusion: The unique biology, ingenuity and physical prominence of Nuytsia floribunda has been recognised in Noongar lore for millennia. We suggest it as a valuable teacher and exemplar of prosperous survival in old, climatically-buffered, infertile landscapes and to this end, should be widely celebrated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant and Soil
Early online date2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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