The natural environment on Redlands Coast contains a bounty of useful and edible bush tucker plants.
Many types of bush tucker plants are grown, displayed and sold at the IndigiScapes Centre. Bush tucker tours and tastings are also available at the centre.
Bush tucker plants are hardy and can adapt to various conditions. Below are just a few types that can be found in the Redlands Coast.
Macadamia integrifolia, M. tetraphylla
The Macadamia is our bush tucker star and one of Australia’s best known native foods. So far it is our only native plant that's grown and sold as a commercial crop both here in Australia and overseas. It is an attractive food tree to 20m which is classified as vulnerable in the wild. The nuts are tough to crack but delicious, nutritious and rich in oil. They can be eaten raw, made into nut butters or added to sweet and savoury dishes. They are ready to eat in summer.
A relatively hardy, fast growing ginger to 2 metres which is not only useful in the kitchen but is also loved by frogs in the garden. The plant produces edible blue berries and the pulp of the fruits, which has a gingery fruit salad flavour, can be eaten raw (although the seeds are usually spat out).
The young underground roots have a mild ginger flavour and can be used in place of Asian ginger in dishes. The leaves can be used to lay under or wrap up food cooked on an open fire or BBQ. The seeds can be crushed and used as a peppery spice. A truly versatile bush tucker plant and a lovely addition to your garden.
Syzigium/Acmena: several species
An ornamental rainforest tree favoured by butterflies and birds with dense, glossy foliage ranging in height to around 20 metres (dependent on species and growing conditions). Fluffy white flowers loved by nectar seeking animals, are followed by edible fruits, often born en-masse in summer, which range in colour from pinks to reds and even purples.
The slightly acidic fruits range in flavours and have been described as tasting a bit like rose-apple through to sweet clove. They can be eaten fresh, or frozen and dried for later use.
Lilly Pillys are mostly used for making jams but can be used in fruit salads, sweet and savoury sauces, syrups, relishes, puddings, muffins, soft drinks, ice-cream or to accompany meat dishes.
Rubus moluccanus, R. rosifolius, R. parviflorus
A prickly, sprawling shrub or groundcover to 1 metre which grows in a range of sites. Produces sweet rich red berries best eaten when they are starting to soften. A tea can be made from the leaves which is said to ease morning sickness and labour pains or gargled to relieve a sore throat. The plant can spread over a wide area via underground root suckers. Best planted in a less accessed corner of the yard and cut back once a year or kept contained in a pot.
Popular groundcover that thrives anywhere it's wet. The delicate flowers are edible and can be used fresh to beautify salads or dipped in egg white and sugared for use in cake decorating and confectionary. Suitable to plant in a hanging basket for a visually pleasing effect.
Small tree/shrub to 8 metres which can be pruned to shape. Usually occurs on rainforest edges so prefers a moist area. Small soft, fleshy fruits are edible and have a sweet taste, but you will need to work quite hard to make a meal of the berries.
Host plant to a variety of butterflies and insects and flowers are used by adult butterflies for nectar. Birds love the small berries this tree produces too.
A slow growing rainforest tree to 20 metres with deep-green strap like leaves. It tolerates a wide range of conditions and can be made into an attractive container plant. The fleshy deep blue-purple fruit looks like a plum with its seed attached on the outside.
The flesh has a very unique jelly like texture and is sweet and tasty. Great fresh or excellent in desserts or syrups.
A dense low growing shrub to one metre with reddish new foliage and small white flowers. Prefers a more sheltered site but is very hardy so will grow in a wide variety of situations.
Soft spotty fruits are sweet and slightly aromatic. Fruit can be eaten raw or made into a nice jam or cordial. A good plant for a bird friendly garden.
Dianella: several species
A hardy clumping or spreading grass-like lily from around 30cm to 1.5 metres depending on the species. Beautiful purple-blue flowers are followed by small bright purple fruits that are edible in small quantities and pleasant tasting.
A good plant for filling gaps and borders of a frog and bird friendly garden.
A small tree with rough sandpaper-like leaves which grows to around 8 metres high. The soft, hairy dark purple fruits are edible and a delicious treat for birds. The rough leaves can be used like sandpaper to smooth wood surfaces.
This plant prefers a moist sheltered spot but is quite hardy.
A shrub which grows to 4 metres with lovely lemon scented foliage which is reputed to repel mosquitos. On a hot day the oil perfumes the air around the plant.
The leaves of this plant can be used to substitute for lemon myrtle as the oil from the leaves has the same qualities but has a more intense flavour and therefore less is needed. Leaves can be used fresh or dried. Make a tea from the leaves or use to flavour cakes and scones or savoury dishes.
Never eat plants that are growing in an area where they may have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, or where the water supply could be polluted.
Never eat any part of any wild growing plant unless you are certain you can identify it.
No responsibility is taken by Redland City Council for any injury caused as a result of reliance on the information contained in this web page.