We acknowledge the Yawuru people,
the traditional owners and
custodians of the land on which
we work and learn together.

Broome SHS


Sandpaper fig


Image source Wikimedia Commons

Ficus opposita micracantha

Ngamarnaina is Ngamarnajina Yawuru
ranyj, ranya  Bardi
jirrib Nyul Nyul

Fruiting and flowering: Wirralburu between April and June

The Sandpaper fig is commonly found around wells and vine thickets where birds congregate.  Locally, they can be found in Minyirr Park and along the coastal areas. Its small figs are green and when they become purplish black they are edible, and are considered tastier than other fig species. The rough leaves are responsible for the common name of the plant, and they were traditionally used for smoothing rough edges on wood or pearlshell carving.

The traditional names; Ngamarnaina  or Ngamana-jina refers to the white sap that exudes from the fig and leaves when broken. (Ngamana – milk/white sap; jina – foot) 

Image source: Clancy McDowell. Traditionally, sandpaper fig leaves could be used to smooth carved wooden artefacts like this boomerang, made in 2017 by Arthur ‘Pudding’ Smith.

For more information: “Broome and Beyond; Plants and people of the Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley, Western Australia”  full reference page 138