|Locale||Jungle and tropical regions, Aswanar Wildlands, Fire Isles|
The wakaya bush is a tall tropical shrub that grows in the Aswanar wildlands. It has smooth, oval dark green leaves and bears small oval shaped, bright orange fruit. The fruits are known as wakaya or wakaya nuts.
The outer fleshy skin of the wakaya is edible and tastes rather powdery and tart. The dense, dark orange kernel of the fruit is extremely toxic and needs a great deal of preparation before it can be safely eaten. Eating the untreated kernel causes severe muscle cramps that can even rip the muscles off the bone.
The kernels have to be boiled and then steamed or soaked in running water before the poison is completely leached out. The aswani grind the kernels up, after treatment, into flour for bread. This bread usually is usually for the chiefs and other important people because of the amount of work involved in making it. The treated kernel has a nutty flavor after treatment.
The leaves of the wakaya can be used to help wounds heal and to draw out poisons from a wound or the skin. The leaves are also made into coronets to wear on the head by the aswani when visiting graves or during a burial ceremony.
The wood of the wakaya is white and very brittle and makes good firewood when dry. It is not very strong and not good for building, but it is lightweight and the aswani and natives of the Fire Isles use it in the construction of canoes.
Wakaya are a major part of the diet of the aswani. This tree is also an important resource for various Fire Isle tribes..
This website was last updated March 31, 2019. Copyright 1990-2019 David M. Roomes.