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KANGAROO Island farmer Rick Cane is gearing up for the annual yacca harvest, helping keep alive one of Australia's older but lesser known industries.

Mr Cane has been reaping the valuable gum from the yacca plant to supplement his income for about 20 years, but he has also taken on the first-stage of processing this year.

In one of Australia's more unusual harvests, Mr Cane heads into the bush during quieter times each year to harvest dead yaccas with a mattock.

The yaccas are only allowed to be harvested if they have died, limiting supply on the island. Mr Cane loads them on to his ute and processes the plant into coarse yacca, which is then bagged up and sent to the Barossa Valley for further processing.

There the yacca is turned into fine powder by processors Dianne and Andrew Correll for sale to international markets.

It is used for pyrotechnics- for fireworks and flares - and as an additive in paint.

"It is a very small niche market among loyal pyrotechnicians, who like our product because it is less volatile and gives better colours," Mrs Correll said.
Up to 50 tonnes of yacca is harvested each year under strict environmental guidelines on the island, the world's sole remaining source of yacca powder. Generations of islanders have harvested the yacca plant and it has been processed into powder for sale to overseas markets.

Yacca harvesting took place on Kangaroo Island in the 1890s during early land-clearing operations. It peaked in the 1930s. Uses have also included making varnish, stains, floor polish, dyes, shoe polish and wine colouring.

It was even used to make ammunition during the two world wars.

The yacca's flowering spike was used by Aboriginal people to make fishing spears and as an adhesive to patch up leaky water-containers and didgeridoos.

yacca.jpg


http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/ ... 6683312752
 

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Yaccas are very, very slow growing, but loads of young plants all around the island. George Turner who is now in his 60s could carry 2 Yaccas out of the bush (one on each shoulder) strongest man I know in his younger days. Many stories on KI about the old Yacca harvest. Good job for someone with a video diary. Burn explosively when you put a small amount in a camp fire, very impressive (cmon we all have a little pyromaniac in us around a camp fire :lol: ).
 

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It's been that way for quite a while now - they did try to get people to call them grass trees, didn't work for me.

This is the first time I've seen them called Yaccas though. Is that the aboriginal name for them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Jeffen said:
This is the first time I've seen them called Yaccas though. Is that the aboriginal name for them?
The Xanthorrhoea or Grass Tree has always been called a yacca in SA - hence my avatar
"The best known common name for the Xanthorrhoea is blackboy. This name refers to the purported similarity in appearance of the trunked species to an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear. Some people now consider this name to be offensive, or at least belonging to the past, preferring instead grasstree. In the South West, the Noongar name balga is used for X. preissii. In South Australia, Xanthorrhoea is commonly known as yakka, also spelled yacca and yacka, a name probably from a South Australian Aboriginal language,[2] mostly likely Kaurna."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthorrhoea
 

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solatree said:
Jeffen said:
This is the first time I've seen them called Yaccas though. Is that the aboriginal name for them?
The Xanthorrhoea or Grass Tree has always been called a yacca in SA - hence my avatar
"The best known common name for the Xanthorrhoea is blackboy. This name refers to the purported similarity in appearance of the trunked species to an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear. Some people now consider this name to be offensive, or at least belonging to the past, preferring instead grasstree. In the South West, the Noongar name balga is used for X. preissii. In South Australia, Xanthorrhoea is commonly known as yakka, also spelled yacca and yacka, a name probably from a South Australian Aboriginal language,[2] mostly likely Kaurna."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthorrhoea
Interesting stuff - also had no idea they were utilised in explosives & pyrotechnics.
 

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Thanks for posting this, I had know idea about this coming from the grass tree.
Interesting that the same thing is used in explosives and in the paint on your house, doesn't seem like a good idea really.
 
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