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 for making spears, tools, baskets and shelters. A selection of these plants is available from the nursery.

Food

*Single Plant Species
**Multiple Plant Species

#Nectar drinks were made from flowers of many plant groups 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 

Use/Plant Part Used

Acacia longifolia

Sydney Golden Wattle

Seed, gum, grub

Acacia sophorae

Golden Wattle

Seed, gum

Acacia spp**

Wattle

Seeds ground for flour

Acmena smithii

Lilly Pilly

Fruit

Amyema spp**

Mistletoe

Fruit

Astroloma humisifum

Cranberry Heath

Fruit

Astroloma pinifolium

Cranberry

Fruit

Banksia ericifolia

Heath Banksia

Nectar#

Banksia spp**

Banksia

Grub, nectar#

Billiardiera scandens

Apple Berry / Dumplings

Fruit

Blechnum indicum

Bungwall fern 

Rhizome

Burchardia umbellata

Milkmaids

Bulb

Caesia spp**

Grass Lily

Bulb

Callistemon spp**

Bottlebrush

Nectar#

Calochilus spp**

Bearded Orchid

Tuber

Calytrix tetragona

Fringe Myrtle

Fruit

Carpobrotus glaucescens

Pig Face

Fruit

Cassytha sp*

Devil's Twine 

Fruit

Cissus antartica

Native Grape

Fruit

Correa alba

White Correa

Greens

Cryptostylis spp**

Hooded Orchid

Tuber

Cyathea australis

Rough Tree Fern

 

Cymbopogn refractus

Barbed Wire Grass

Leaves

Dianella caerulea

Flax Lily

Fruit (including seeds), roots

Dianella revoluta

Flax Lily

Fruit

Diuris spp**

Double Tails

Tuber

Erodium crinitum

Heronsbill

Root

Eucalyptus spp**

Gum Tree

Nectar#, seeds

Eucalyptus spp**

Gum Tree

Seeds ground for flour, flowers soaked for sweet drinks

Eustrephus latifolius

Wombat Berry

Tuber

Exocarpus cupressiformis

Native Cherry

Fruit

Ficus sp**

Fig

Fruit

Gahnia sieberiana

Saw Sedge

Leaf base, possibly seeds

Geitonoplesium cymosum

Scrambling Lily

Shoot

Glycine clandestina

Twining Love Creeper

Root

Glycine tabacina

Vanilla Love Creeper

Root

Grevillea spp**

Spider Flower

Nectar#

Haemodorum corymbosum

Bloodroot

Root

Hydrocotyle bonariensis

Native cabbage

Leaves

Ipomoea spp**

Convolvulus

Root

Leucopogon lanceolatus 

Lance Beard Heath 

Fruit

Leucopogon parviflorus

Beard Heath

Fruit

Lomandra longifolia

Spiny-headed Mat Rush

Seeds ground into flour

Lomandra longifolia

Spiny-headed Mat Rush

Leaf bases edible, with pea-like flavour. Flowers also edible. 

Lomandra spp**

Mat Rush

Leaf base, flowers

Lyperanthus suaveolens

Brown Beak Orchid

Tuber

Marsdenia suaveolens

Bush Banana

Whole plant

Melaleuca quinquinervia

Paperbark

Nectar#

Microtis spp**

Onion Orchid 

Tuber

Monotoca elliptica

Pigeon Berry / Broom Heath

Fruit

Myoporum sp*

Boobialla

Fruit

Patersonia glabrata

Native Flag

Rhizome

Pelargonium australe

Austral Stork's Bill

Root

Persoonia lanceolata

Lance-leaf Geebung

Fruit

Persoonia levis

Broad Leaf Geebung

Fruit

Phragmites australis

Native Reed

Greens - young stems

Pittosporum undulatum

Sweet Pittosporum

Ground seeds

Polyscias sambucifolia

Elderberry Panax

Fruit

Portulaca oleracea

Pigweed

Leaves and stems are edible raw and cooked. Seeds made into flour 

Pteridium esculentum

Bracken fern

Rhizome

Pterostylis concinna

Trim Greenhood

Tuber

Rubus spp**

Blackberry

Fruit

Sarcocornia quinqueflora

Samphire

Stem

Scaevola calendulacea

Scented Fan Flower

Fruit

Smilax glyciphylla

Sarsparilla Vine

Fruit, leaf

Stypheila viridis

Five Corners

Fruit

Stypheila laeta

Five Corners

Fruit

Stypheila triflora

Five Corners

Fruit

Tetragonia tetragonoides

Warrigal Greens

Leaves

Thysanotus tuberosus

Common Fringed Lily

Root

Triglochin procerum

Water Ribbons

Root & Fruit

Typha spp**

Bullrush

Rhizome/roots, young shoots and flowers

Typha spp**

Bullrush

Pollen

Xanthorrhoea spp**

Grass Tree 

Leaf bases, young flowers and shoots, grubs

Medicine

**Multiple Plant Species 

Species

Common Name

Use/Plant Part Used

Acacia implexa

Hickory

Bark used to treat skin diseases

Carpobrotus glaucescens

Pigface

Eaten as a purgative

Corymbia gummifera

Red Bloodwood

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

Crinum pedunculatum

Swamp Lily

Leaf juice rubbed on marine stings

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

Duboisia myoporides

Corkwood

Drunk as an intoxicant

Ficus rubiginosa

Port Jackson Fig

Milky sap used to cover wounds

Melaleuca quinquinervia

Paperbark

Leaves steeped for sore throats and used as a wash

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

Pteridium esculentum

Bracken

Juice from young stems used against insect bites and stinging nettles

Smilax glyciphylla

Sarsparilla

Tea made from leaves drunk for stomach ache

Other uses

**Multiple Plant Species

Species

Common Name

Use/Plant Part Used

Acacia implexa

Hickory

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

Acacia longifolia

Sydney Golden Wattle

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

Acacia sophorae

Coastal Wattle

Liquid made from bark used for tanning skins

Casaurina glauca

Swamp Oak

Bark for canoe hulls

Cissus antartica

Kangaroo Grape

Rope for climbing

Corymbia gummifera

Red
Bloodwood

Bark for canoe hulls

Corymbia gummifera

Red Bloodwood

Resin to soak fibres in for string-making

Dianella caerulea

Blue Flax Lily

Leaves used to make strong fibre

Duboisia myoporoides

Corkwood

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

Eucalyptus botryoides

Bangalay

Bark for canoe hulls

Eucalyptus spp**

Gum Tree

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

Ficus rubiginosa

Port Jackson Fig

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

Kennedia

Running Postman

Stems used to lash canoe ends

Lomandra longifolia

Mat Rush

Leaves used for weaving bags and baskets

Lomandra multiflora

Many-flowered Mat Rush

Leaves used for weaving bags

Melaleuca styphelioides

Paperbark

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

Persicaria spp**

Knotweed

Bark and/or leaves used in fishing

Pimelea spp**

Rice Flower

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

Xanthorrhoea spp**

Grass Tree

Inflorescence scape used for spear shaft

Xanthorrhoea spp**

Grass Tree

Resin used for many purposes

.

Availability

Some of these plants are difficult to propagate and may not be available from Randwick City Council Community Nursery or other nurseries.

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 be available from the nursery. For further information please refer to the references listed below.  

Advisory

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. The collection of identified threatened species from national parks is an offence punishable by law.

References

  • Robinson, L. 1994. Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney, Kangaroo Press.
  • Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (7 May 2008).
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney - Aboriginal Bush Foods (7 May 2008).
  • Smith, K and Smith, I. 1999. Grow Your Own Bushfoods, New Holland.
  • Stewart, K and Percival, B. 1997. Bush foods of New South Wales: a botanic record and an Aboriginal oral history, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
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