Thursday, 14 July 2011
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!