While it’s not recommended to go wandering around the Australian bush, randomly picking delicious plant-based morsels, there is a surprising amount of local flora that is not only safe to eat, but tasty as well. Identifying the good from the dangerous? That’s another story entirely.
Kathy Riley over at Australian Geographic has compiled a list of eight plants, seeds and flowers that are safe to eat:
- Bush Tomato — Solanum centrale
- Lemon Ironbark — Eucalyptus staigeriana
- River mint — Mentha australis
- Aniseed myrtle — Anetholea anisata / Syzygium anisatum
- Cinnamon myrtle — Backhousia myrtifolia
- Mountain pepper — Tasmannia lanceolata
- Wattleseed — Acacia victoriae
- Saltbush — Atriplex nummularia
Riley’s article includes images, as well as more information about each plant. It’s worth reading up on the bush tomato in particular, as not all varieties are safe:
A word of warning: there are more than 100 Solanum species in Australia, but only a half-dozen are edible — and the unripe fruits of these are toxic. This is a small, arid-zone shrub whose ripe fruits have a savoury, robust flavour similar to sun-dried tomatoes. It is most often dried and ground into a spice for use in casseroles, curries and salsas.
If you’re not keen to go digging things up yourself, I’m sure someone will find a way to get them into a supermarket eventually.
Your guide to edible Australian flora [Australian Geographic]