Thursday, 14 July 2011

Strange fruit

I came across a couple of weird and wonderful fruits in the garden today, both of which would have been eaten by aboriginal people.   The first was the Burrawang (also the name of a village near Robertson in the Southern Highlands of NSW), Macrozamia spp.  An amazing thing about the Burrawang, which is native to the NSW East Coast, is that it is poisonous!  It is incredible how, over thousands of years, aboriginal people worked out how they could eat such plants.  According to the sign by the plant in the gardens, the Burrawang can be eaten after cooking the seed, breaking it up and then soaking it for up to three weeks in running water!! 

Near the Burrawang was another fruit, that looks a little like jelly babies, growing on the Brown Pine tree Podocarpus elatus, or Illawara Plum.  Nothing like a pine tree that I'm familiar with, originating in the rainforest.  According to the sign in the garden it is 'sweet but mucilaginous'.  As I didn't know what mucilaginous meant I decided not to try one! 


  1. Amazing that someone found out how to render the Burrawang non-toxic! Especially with such a complex treatment!! Just hope there was no trial and error involved ...

  2. totally amazing... but i guess they were probably pretty desperate at some point, Im sure Australia could be a really harsh place to live in times of drought back then (even now the weather can deal us some cruel blows! Not bought bananas for months they still so expensive after the QLD floods!!).