Bush Food, Fibre and Medicine Indigenous Plants from south-west Victoria
Chocolate Lily – Dichopogon strictus <ul><li>A native lily with purple flowers which smell of chocolate, appearing in the spring </li></ul><ul><li>Often locally abundant </li></ul><ul><li>The numerous root tubers are not starchy and were cooked before eating. </li></ul>
Kangaroo Apple Solanum aviculare <ul><li>The oval shaped fruits are pale green and change colour from yellow, to orange and red as they ripen. </li></ul><ul><li>The ripe fruit contains a soft pulp with many seeds. </li></ul><ul><li>The fruits were eaten by Aboriginal people, but only when very ripe, as they are said to be poisonous at other times. </li></ul>
Bulbine Lily - Bulbine bulbosa “ Although many members of the Lily family were eaten by the Aborigines, the small tubers of such plants as the Vanilla Lily and the Bulbine Lily are either bland or bitter to European taste and not likely to find their way into the mainstream.”
Blackwood – Acacia melanoxylon <ul><li>A large, tall tree with pale yellow flowers in spring. </li></ul><ul><li>Each seed in the pod is encircled by a red aril, attractive to ants. </li></ul><ul><li>The hard seeds need to be scarified prior to propagating </li></ul><ul><li>Seeds can be ground to a flour and added to biscuits or dough. </li></ul><ul><li>The wood is very hard and was used for spear-throwers and shields </li></ul><ul><li>The bark was heated and infused in water to bathe rheumatic joints </li></ul><ul><li>In Gippsland the inner bark fibres were used to make string for fishing lines. </li></ul>
Lillypilly – Acmena smithii <ul><li>These evergreen trees range from small shrubs to 20 metres in height. </li></ul><ul><li>They occur in areas of relatively high rainfall from Queensland to southern Victoria. </li></ul><ul><li>They have small white flowers that are followed by these pink to purple berries. </li></ul><ul><li>The edible flesh is spongy and can be used for jellies or jams. </li></ul>
Mountain Pepper – Tasmania lanceolata <ul><li>Native to cool, moist forest areas of south-eastern Australia, the mountain pepper is a shrub or small tree to 5 metres. </li></ul><ul><li>The plant’s dark green, glossy leaves and pea-sized purple-black berries have a hot, peppery flavour and unique aroma. </li></ul><ul><li>The fruits and leaves can be used to flavour sauces, chutneys, meats, cheeses, pate, breads, pastas etc. </li></ul>
Native Cherry or Cherry ballart – Exocarpos cypressformis <ul><li>Small, sweet, juicy fruits would have provided a springtime snack. </li></ul><ul><li>Sap was applied as a cure for snake-bite. </li></ul><ul><li>Wood for spear-throwers. </li></ul>
New Zealand Spinach – Tetragonia tetragonoides <ul><li>Also known as ‘warrigal greens’ this spinach-like plant was rarely used by aboriginals, but became popular after being discovered by Captain Cook as a preventative for scurvy. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the only Australian plant to be cultivated internationally as a vegetable. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The soft Tree Fern was commonly used for food by Aborigines. The white starch in the core can be eaten raw or cooked. </li></ul><ul><li>Habitat: The soft Tree Fern is a wide-spread species growing from south-eastern Queensland, through the NSW and Victorian coast and in Tasmania. </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance: The trunk grows up to 15 metres high with the green, lacy fronds growing up to three metres in length. </li></ul>Dicksonia antarctica – Tree fern
Spiny-headed Mat-rush Lomandra longfolia subs. longfolia The tough leaves are used for weaving and basket-making and twisted into cord.
Eel traps made of woven reeds These eel traps were used in the wetlands of the western district of Victoria and provided a regular food supply for Koorie people. The eels could be dried and smoked and were used as a trading item with other tribes.
References Victorian Koori Plants (1991) Beth Gott and John Conran, Yangennanock Women’s Group, Aboriginal Keeping Place, PO Box 666, Hamilton, Victoria 3300, Australia. Leigh Fary (pers. comm. 2008) Ngalawoort Plant Nursery, 1-3 Rooney’sv Road, Warrnambool 3280, Australia. Brambuk Bush Food Cafe (2007) Grampians Road, Halls Gap 3381, Victoria, Australia Australian National Botanic Gardens - Aboriginal Plant Use in South Eastern Australia http://www.anbg.gov.au/aborig.s.e.aust/index.html Bush Food species for temperate regions. http://asgap.org.au/APOL12/dec98-2.html