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Local plants

The following lists identify plants in the Randwick City Council area that were used by Aboriginal Australians for food, medicine and other purposes. Fruits, seeds, tubers and berries were eaten; sweet drinks were made from flower nectar and teas made from leaves. Some plants were used as Medicine and others for making spears, tools, baskets and shelters. A range of these plants are available from Randwick City Council's Community Nursery.

Warning

  • These lists are presented for educational purposes and are only a guide. Some of the plants listed as foods require treatment to remove dangerous poisons and toxins before they can be eaten. Including plants on this list does not imply that Randwick City Council recommends these plants are to be eaten, ingested or consumed in any way. Likewise, the information provided here is not intended to be used to treat any medical conditions.
  • Randwick City Council does not endorse the collection of any native plants from natural areas. Any plants growing in National Parks are protected by law, and no parts of plants, including seed lying on the ground, can be harvested or collected from National Parks. Plants not inside National Parks may still be protected by Threatened Species legislation. Collecting from National Parks of identified threatened species is an offence punishable by law.

Availability

  • Some of these plants are difficult to propagate and may not be available from nurseries. Plants that the Randwick City Council Community Nursery stocks are listed. Please note that not all plants are available at all times.
  • These lists do not include non-local species that may be planted here and used for food or other purposes (eg Livistona australis and Austromyrtus dulcis) and may also be available from the nursery. For further information please refer to the references listed below.

Food

*Single Plant Species
**Multiple Plant Species
***Nectar drinks were made from flowers of many spp** including Banskia, Grevillea, Hakea, Melaleuca, Kennedia and Callistemon. Flowers can be sucked or immersed in water for a sweet drink, or leaves from Leptospermum and Melaleuca species can be used for teas

Species Common name  Plant part used

Available at Randwick City Council Nursery

Acacia longifolia Sydney Golden Wattle Seed, gum, grub No
Acacia sophorae Golden Wattle Seed, gum Yes
Acacia spp** Wattle Seeds ground for flour Yes
Acmena smithii Lilly Pilly Fruit Yes
Amyema spp** Mistletoe Fruit No
Astroloma humisifum Cranberry Heath Fruit No
Astroloma pinifolium Cranberry Fruit No
Banksia ericifolia Heath Banksia Nectar for sweet drink Yes
Banksia spp** Banksia Grub, nectar*** Yes
Billiardiera scandens Apple Berry / Dumplings Fruit Yes
Blechnum indicum Bungwall fern  Rhizome No
Burchardia umbellata Milkmaids Bulb No
Caesia spp** Grass Lily Bulb No
Callistemon spp** Bottlebrush Nectar*** Yes
Calochilus spp** Bearded Orchid Tuber No
Calytrix tetragona Fringe Myrtle Fruit Yes
Carpobrotus glaucescens Pig Face Fruit Yes
Cassytha sp* Devil's Twine  Fruit No
Cissus antartica Native Grape Fruit No
Correa alba White Correa Greens Yes
Cryptostylis spp** Hooded Orchid Tuber No
Cyathea australis Rough Tree Fern No
Cymbopogn refractus Barbed Wire Grass Leaves No
Dianella caerulea Flax Lily Fruit (including seeds), roots No
Dianella revoluta Flax Lily Fruit No
Diuris spp** Double Tails Tuber No
Erodium crinitum Heronsbill Root No
Eucalyptus spp** Gum Tree Nectar***, seeds Yes
Eucalyptus spp** Gum Tree Seeds ground for flour, flowers soaked for sweet drinks Yes

Eustrephus latifolius

 

Wombat Berry Tuber Yes
Exocarpus cupressiformis Native Cherry Fruit No
Ficus sp** Fig Fruit No
Gahnia sieberiana Saw Sedge Leaf base, possibly seeds Yes
Geitonoplesium cymosum Scrambling Lily Shoot No
Glycine clandestina Twining Love Creeper Root Yes
Glycine tabacina Vanilla Love Creeper Root No
Grevillea spp** Spider Flower Nectar*** Yes
Haemodorum corymbosum Bloodroot Root No

Hydrocotyle bonariensis

Native cabbage Leaves No
Ipomoea spp** Convolvulus Root No
Leucopogon lanceolatus  Lance Beard Heath  Fruit No
Leucopogon parviflorus Beard Heath Fruit No
Lomandra longifolia Spiny-headed Mat Rush Seeds ground into flour Yes
Lomandra longifolia Spiny-headed Mat Rush Leaf bases edible, with pea-like flavour. Flowers also edible.  Yes
Lomandra spp** Mat Rush Leaf base, flowers Yes
Lyperanthus suaveolens Brown Beak Orchid Tuber No
Marsdenia suaveolens Bush Banana Whole plant No
Melaleuca quinquinervia Paperbark Nectar*** Yes
Microtis spp** Onion Orchid  Tuber No
Monotoca elliptica Pigeon Berry / Broom Heath Fruit Yes
Myoporum sp* Boobialla Fruit Yes
Patersonia glabrata Native Flag Rhizome No
Pelargonium australe Austral Stork's Bill Root Yes
Persoonia lanceolata Lance-leaf Geebung Fruit No
Persoonia levis Broad Leaf Geebung Fruit No
Phragmites australis Native Reed Greens - young stems No
Pittosporum undulatum Sweet Pittosporum Ground seeds No
Polyscias sambucifolia Elderberry Panax Fruit No
Portulaca oleracea Pigweed Leaves and stems are edible raw and cooked. Seeds made into flour  No
Pteridium esculentum Bracken fern Rhizome No
Pterostylis concinna Trim Greenhood Tuber No
Rubus spp** Blackberry Fruit No
Sarcocornia quinqueflora Samphire Stem No
Scaevola calendulacea Scented Fan Flower Fruit No
Smilax glyciphylla Sarsparilla Vine Fruit, leaf No
Stypheila viridis Five Corners Fruit No
Stypheila laeta Five Corners Fruit No

Stypheila triflora

Five Corners Fruit No
Tetragonia tetragonoides Warrigal Greens Leaves Yes
Thysanotus tuberosus Common Fringed Lily Root No
Triglochin procerum Water Ribbons Root & Fruit No
Typha spp** Bullrush Rhizome/roots, young shoots and flowers No
Typha spp** Bullrush Pollen No
Xanthorrhoea spp** Grass Tree  Leaf bases, young flowers and shoots, grubs Yes

 Medicine

*Single Plant Species
**Multiple Plant Species 

Species

Common name

Use

Available at Randwick City Council Nursery

Acacia implexa

Hickory

Bark used to treat skin diseases

No

Carpobrotus glaucescens

Pigface

Eaten as a purgative

Yes

Corymbia gummifera

Red Bloodwood

Exudate used internally and applied externally in powdered form to treat sores

No

Crinum pedunculatum

Swamp Lily

Leaf juice rubbed on marine stings

Yes

Dodonaea triquetra

Hop Bush

Leaves chewed for toothache, used as a poultice for stonefish and stingray wounds. Liquid made from soaking the roots was used for open cuts and sores

Yes

Duboisia myoporides

Corkwood

Drunk as an intoxicant

No

Ficus rubiginosa

Port Jackson Fig

Milky sap used to cover wounds

No

Melaleuca quinquinervia

Paperbark

Leaves steeped for sore throats and used as a wash

Yes

Melaleuca spp**

Paperbark

All species of Melaleuca can be used to treat symptoms of colds, flu and sinusitis by inhaling the steam from boiling or burning the leaves

Yes

Pteridium esculentum

Bracken

Juice from young stems used against insect bites and stinging nettles

No

Smilax glyciphylla

Sarsparilla

Tea made from leaves drunk for stomach ache

No


Other uses

*Single Plant Species
**Multiple Plant Species   

Species

Common name

Use

Available at Randwick City Council Nursery

Acacia implexa

Hickory

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

No

Acacia longifolia

Sydney Golden Wattle

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

No

Acacia sophorae

Coastal Wattle

Liquid made from bark used for tanning skins

Yes

Casaurina glauca

Swamp Oak

Bark for canoe hulls

Yes

Cissus antartica

Kangaroo Grape

Rope for climbing

No

Corymbia gummifera

Red
Bloodwood

Bark for canoe hulls

No

Corymbia gummifera

Red Bloodwood

Resin to soak fibres in for string-making

No

Dianella caerulea

Blue Flax Lily

Leaves used to make strong fibre

No

Duboisia myoporoides

Corkwood

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

No

Eucalyptus botryoides

Bangalay

Bark for canoe hulls

Yes

Eucalyptus spp**

Gum Tree

Bark used for canoes, roofing material, torches, bowls. Wood for wooden dishes, digging sticks, clap sticks and clubs

Yes

Ficus rubiginosa

Port Jackson Fig

Inner bark used for twine to make dilly bags and fishing nets. Timber used for coolamons, shields and canoes

No

Kennedia

Running Postman

Stems used to lash canoe ends

Yes

Lomandra longifolia

Mat Rush

Leaves used for weaving bags and baskets

Yes

Lomandra multiflora

Many-flowered Mat Rush

Leaves used for weaving bags

No

Melaleuca styphelioides

Paperbark

Paperbark used for roofing materials, blankets, slings for babies, bowls and cups

No

Persicaria spp**

Knotweed

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

No

Pimelea spp**

Rice Flower

Fibres on outside of stem used to make nets to catch bogong moths

Yes

Xanthorrhoea spp**

Grass Tree

Inflorescence scape used for spear shaft

Yes

Xanthorrhoea spp**

Grass Tree

Resin used for many purposes

Yes


References