Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Today I pledged two plants which grow wildly on the block to Dianne's Bush Tucker request posting.

One was Wombat Berry.... and there is only one Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)

The other was Native Sarsaparilla.... and there are at least three native vines bearing the name Sarsaparilla and I assumed that I had the bush tucker one. The assumption was incorrect as I have Hardenbergia violacea, which puts on a very pretty floral display, however has no mention of bush tucker properties in most bush tucker & native plant specific sites.

The Bush Tucker (medicinal & edible) Sarsaparilla is Smilax glycophylla (Sweet Sarsaparilla vine). Smilax australis is also mentioned as bush tucker. they are related to Jamaican Sarsaparilla (Smilax ornata), which is used to flavour traditional sarsaparilla drinks, root beers and other medicinal drinks. The Australian Smilax glycophylla was used as a scurvy prevention/treatment drink (from boiled leaves) and is reported to have medicinal properties for digestion), along with edible berries.

Always pays to check before you eat.... or give away ;)

Paten Park Native Nursery plant search results below

Sorry Dianne, I got my wires crossed on the sarsaparilla.

The Wombat berry checks out (although I tried the root, and it tasted yuck... bitter like dandelion), and I can still get you the non edible Hardenbergia violacea.


After writing all of the above....

It is Interesting to do a more extensive search on Hardenbergia violate and see references to bush tucker. Although the majority of sites I would go to, do not mention this plant as bush tucker, some sites do.

I am a little wary that the name may have crossed other wires as the PFAF site's description is the same as that for Sweet Sarsaparilla.

Another, and maybe more accurate? bush tucker description is in the an MRCCC pdf file attributing the plant with edible flowers (only).

Most descriptions (including the book - Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane, QLD Museum Guide) do not mention bush tucker/edible/medicinal as an attribute of Hardenbergia violacea.

It sounds like one of Hardenbergia violacea's other common names - False Sarsaparilla, summarises the dellima and keeps me sticking to the do-not-eat side of things.

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Replies to This Discussion

Great information Rob, I am chuffed that you went to so much trouble. I don't need the Hardenbergia violacea .

:)  I had seedlings pop up in my garden that I assumed were eggplants.  Now I'm not so sure but am letting them grow.  However, I gave some away at last garden visit.  Oh well, if they are not eggplants, it will be obvious when they first flower so no one will eat them :)


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