In this painting I have depicted the pods of a shrub which is common in the Pilbara area. It is a smallish bush which comes into seed in September, when the Emu is visible in the Milky Way. This is the time the emu chicks hatch and it is one of their main sources of food. When the pod opens the parent emus feed the little black seeds to their chicks. The seed pod, which is about the size and the shape of a cockroach, turns from orange to yellow, so when all the bushes are in pod at different stages, there is a brilliant display of orange and yellow colours throughout the country.
The official name of this annual shrub is Senna notabilis, but, due to the oblong, flat shape and the glossy golden brown colour of its pods, it is known commonly as Cockroach Bush. It has a little round fruit, a berry, that starts of green and turns red when it is ripe, but it’s poisonous. The shrub starts off as a light green colour and then, as it matures, it gets darker. The flowers are a yellowy orange and they, too, get darker with a bit of black as they are fading away.