I’m currently working on a project that has me researching edible plants in the costal region of W.A and was surprised to find some of my favourite natives on the list, including a few that we already have here in the backyard. It’s a subject I would love to delve into deeper here on the blog, but for now I’m not game enough to try any of the bush tucker without having been shown how to safely prepare it for consumption first!
I’ve always been wary of eating things that haven’t come from my own herb beds (or the shop) as I was told never to eat berries or foliage from the garden or the bush as they were poisonous – this warning was drummed into me as a child so it still resonates (although, I can remember being rebellious and picking a particular orange flower from bushes and pulling them apart to suck out the sweet liquid within).
I was never interested in joining the Scouts or similar organisations which teach about our surroundings (they were ‘boy’ activities as far as i was concerned), and indigenous studies were somewhat glossed over in school which I now find really sad and regret that I missed out on this part of our environment.
One of the newly found edibles was something I had recently planted down a limestone retaining wall along the back fence, called Dianella revoluta, I call it Blueberry Flax Lily & it’s indigenous name for the local Aboriginal Noongar’s is Mangard, you can read more about it at: SERCUL (South East Regional Centre For Urban Landcare) in the bush tucker section, which details the edible parts & other interesting information. A little while after we planted them it flowered & then grew beautiful purple berries, which I adored, so I displayed them inside oftentimes alone or paired with the Magnolia flowers they are planted with (pictured above), I also used them as decorations on gifts that I wrapped over Christmas.
I watched as the berries began to fade and drop from the stems & became a little upset that the plants had produced all that bounty for nothing, so it makes me so happy that they can be used – I envisage me out back next season picking away and finding ways to incorporate the berries into our meals (leaving some for the birds to nibble on of course!).
BUT – until such time that I see another human being eat them without dropping dead I’ll just be enamoured with the idea that in a pinch I could go out back and harvest some bush tucker!