July – creepers and dark red flower, [ Flagellaria indica and Macroptilium atropurpureum ], 40x56cm, oil on linen

Flagellaria indica
Family: Flagellariaceae. ‘Flagellum’ means whip, and ‘indica’ refers to India, where this species was first recorded. Vigorous climber, climbing via modified tendrils on leaf tips, with tough smooth cane-like stems. Wide-spread in coastal vine thickets, in lowland or sandstone country and in mangrove forests. Edible fruit, stems used to sew bark canoes, coolamons, baskets and fish traps. Used to weave armbands. Stems used to dip honey from ‘sugar-bag’. Sap and infusion from inner stem used as a medicine. Used as a decoration during ceremonies. Occurs widely throughout northern Australia, also tropical Africa, India, South East Asia, Melanesia and Polynesia.

Macroptilium atropurpureum
Family: Fabaceae. Common name: purple-bean. A perennial climbing and twining herb, with deep purple-black flowers. Native to North America. Introduced as a pasture plant for permanent or short term pastures. Also used for soil conservation and revegetation. Adds nitrogen to the soil.

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