As we are identifying and learning about the native flora of Booyong, we are discovering the indigenous uses of many species. To date we have learnt to make pesto, tea, cordial, soup, and jam; have included leaves and flowers in our salads; and dried and grinded native plants into a lovely dust.
Bush tucker is defined as any food native to Australia and used by Indigenous people. It includes edible fruits, roots, nuts, seeds and plants that grow beautifully in our climate and soil. It can also include any native flora or fauna used for culinary or medicinal purposes regardless of continent or culture. Bush tucker has sustained generations of traditional Australians for centuries and our reluctance to learn more and include these spices and unique flavours in our everyday cooking is unfortunately not surprising. Most of the food we grow in our Aussie gardens originates from overseas.
Fortunately, in Australia, the broader community are showing an increasing interest in bush tucker. I recently attended a Bush tucker workshop with Narelle at A Garden For Life. It was truly inspiring experience and wonderful to see a variety of Sydney chefs and restaurateurs attending the workshop to learn more.
We follow permaculture principles at Booyong because working with the environment as it is, rather than trying to change it makes incredible sense, especially as the climate changes and rainfall decreases. A native food forest requires less maintenance and the plants are well adapted to our harsh climate. In addition, they are hardy and require little water or use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.
We are currently transforming the old kiwi fruit farm into a native food forest. So many native edible plants are well established in this area and we hope to build an education hut and offer workshops throughout the year so we can share our knowledge and experiences with interested participants. We also plan to propagate and sell native bush tucker plants in the future to educate and provide local plants to the local community.
The area around the Hastings River has been home to the Birpai Aboriginal peoples for tens of thousands of years. We at Booyong acknowledge these people, who are the traditional custodians of this land, and are committed to honouring Indigenous people’s cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, and their rich contribution to society. Should you wish to learn more about the history and culture of the Birpai people, please visit the Port Macquarie – Visitor Information Centre during your stay. You could also visit the Pacific Coast website which contains local indigenous cultural knowledge and stories.
At Booyong Conservation, we would like to share our journey of discovery with you. Please follow our Facebook page to learn more and hopefully be inspired to include some native plants in your garden and at your table.
As a reminder, always identify plants correctly before you eat them and seek expert advice before using them as a medicine. In addition, as we are under conservation, no plants or seeds can be removed from the conservation area.
Korff, J 2019, Welcome to Country & Acknowledgement of Country, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/spirituality/welcome-to-country-acknowledgement-of-country>, retrieved 23 August 2019
Native Food Forest
- Acacia concurrens – Black Wattle
- Alectryon subcinereus – Native Quince
- Alphinea caerulea – Native Ginger
- Araucaria Bidwillii – Bunya Nut
- Archirhodomyrtus beckleri – Rose Myrtle
- Arthropodium sp.b – Vanilla Lily?
- Backhousia myrtifoloa – Cinnamon Myrtle
- Billardiera scandens – Apple Berry
- Capparis arborea – Native Pomegranate
- Cayratia clematidea – Native Grape
- Cissus Antarctica – Native Grape or Kangaroo vine
- Cissus hypoglauca – Water Vine / Native Grapes
- Clematicissus opaca – Pepper Vine
- Davidson Plum
- Dionella caerulea – Blue Flax Lily
- Diploglottis australis – Native Tamarind
- Diospyros Australis – Black Plum
- Dioscorea transversa – Native Yam
- Elaeocarpus obovatus – Hard Quandong
- Eustrephus latifolius – Wombat Berry
- Ficus Coronata – Sandpaper Fig
- Geitonoplesium cymosum – Scrambling lily
- Glycine tabacina – Native Soybean
- Gossia Bidwilli
- Hibiscus heterophyllus – Native Hibiscus
- Leucopogon juniperinus – Prickly Beard-Heath
- Lomandra Longifolia – Mat Rush
- Lomandra spicata
- Macadamia tetraphylla – Macadamia bush nut
- Morinda jasminoides – Sweet Morinda
- Myrsine variabilis – Muttonwood
- Persoonia linearis – Narrow-leaf Geebung
- Pittosporum multiflorum (formerly Citriobatus pacuiflorus) – Orange Thorn
- Planchonella australis – Black Apple
- Rubus parvifolius – Native Raspberry
- Rhodomyrtus Psidiodes – Native Guava – Endangered
- Smilax australis – Lawyer Vine
- Stinging Nettle
- Syzygium Australe – Brush Cherry
- Themeda australis – Kangaroo Grass – great bread
- Trophis scandens – Burny Vine
- Viola hederacea – Native Violet