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The Anaty or Desert Yam

The Anaty (desert yam or bush potato) is a staple food for the Aboriginal people of Utopia. They are tubers, or swollen roots, of the Ipomoea costata, a fast-growing creeper with large purplish-pink trumpet flowers. It is usually found in the Acacia scrub lands and the yams grow underground with its shrub growing above ground, up to 1 metre high.

The anaty can be harvested at any time of the year and can sometimes be hard to locate as it can be growing as deep as 90cm underground. It tastes much like a common sweet potato and it is usually cooked by placing hot coals over it for about 20 minutes. It is then peeled before being eaten.

The Anaty is a central part of the Utopia Aboriginal people's dreaming and artists who have had this story passed down to them through their family lines can depict this story in their art. Examples of artists who paint this story include Jeannie Mills Pwerle, Lisa Mills Pwerle and Shakira Petrick Mills.

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