Pencil yam is an important bush tucker food for Aborigines, and there are many Dreaming rituals around it. It is still commonly eaten in the desert today. It is a slender twining plant with yellow pea flowers throughout the year.
Aboriginal people from the desert dig them up in creekbeds. They look for the white roots, then cook them in the hot earth beside the fire until they are just firm.
Esteemed artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye had an individual Dreaming around the pencil yam. This meant she had been given stories about the origins of the pencil yam, and was entitled to tell these stories and paint the yam.