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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone here forage for bush tucker in Australia? I'm curious as to others' experiences. The only foraging I have done in Aus was for horse mushrooms, Macadamias and Bunya nuts. I'm hoping some others here have more experience and will share their experiences.

One of the things I'd miss about Sweden if we moved back to Aus would be the foraging. My knowledge of edible flora of Australia is pretty poor, but I have become acquainted with many of edible plants and mushrooms growing here in Sweden. There is a lot more known about Swedish flora than Australian, plus my Swede was raised with some knowledge of edible plants.

Ages ago I bought some of Les Hidden's books but they mostly apply to the Top End. I have ordered A Field Companion to Australian Fungi from The Book Depository but am always looking to expand my knowledge. If anyone can recommend some resources I would be grateful.

Anyway, while I was browsing online I found this forum about Australian Bushfood. It's not highly trafficked but there is some good info to be found. I thought I would pass it on in case anyone else is interested.

http://www.bushfood.net/index.php
 

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Yeah I love 'em. Used to watch them with my dad. I bought him all of the guys books too. I reckon his books about early Australian explorers should be required reading in Australian schools. It would have made history classes a lot more interesting for sure. :cool:
 

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I use Wild Food in Australia by Ab and JW Cribb published in 1974 by Fontana. We come across Davidson's Plum (davidsonia pruriens) often while bushwalking and it tastes very bitter raw but dump a handful in your hiking stove with some sugar and stew for a few minutes and tastes great (like jam). Try the fruit off a Moreton Bay Fig when it goes dark, very few people I meet have bothered to try. I've eaten a fair few grubs too, mostly to gross the kids out.
 

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Have tied Morten Bay figs as a kid. Not much information for our area either.
There is some more info posted on the ANZAC group. As a result of the diverse ecosystems, flora and fauna, what can be eaten in one place can change differently 15 klicks up the track.
Not a lot of public information on the internet, books yes but some lack detailed illustrations which make it very risky.
Some of the old bushy's or aboriginals might have a better idea.
 

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Tim Low's "Wild Food Plants of Australia" is a good resource for this kind of info, providing you're comfortable with plant identification. It includes full colour photos too, which really helps. He has a number of other books along similar lines, but I've no experience with them.

If you happen to have a copy of Robbo's (Les Robinson) "Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney", it has occasional information regarding edible properties of plans. This isn't the books focus, however; it's mostly just a basic, quick plant ID reference (which I always carry with me, mind you).

I've also heard good things about Fairley & Moore's offerings (which also include full colour photos - I do not owen any of their books though, so can't vouch for them).

Personally, I'm a big fan of native current (Leptomeria acida from memory), which is a Vitamin-C rich, sweet fruit, easily identified, and edible raw.

In a survival situation, one of the more important things to know about is the edibility of certain tubers and tree-fern starch cores, which are relatively abundant (of course, depending on your locale).

I'd recommend anyone interested in foraging pick up a plant ID book or two, because eating the wrong thing can be very, very bad, and as such I wouldn't recommend eating something based on a vague description or distant memory.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the recommendations.

In case anyone is interested, A Field Companion to Australian Fungi (mentioned in my first post) was disappointing. It contains some nice colour photographs of about a hundred or so varieties of fungi but very little information on habitat, edibility, season, defining characteristics, etc. The author included some well known species but gave very little information even on those. They also stated in the introduction that fungi are members of the plant kingdom! In my opinion it wasn't worth the money.
 

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While you do have unique plants there you also have many found elsewhere in the world. I have several subscribers to my site though I'm based in Florida.
 

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Foraging In Australia.

All the bush food books I have come across have consentrated on the Northern Territory, there seems to be a lot of wild edible plants up there. Here in the Armidale area of New England however it is much harder to find edible plants. However, I have managed to find some, and some very good ones.
I belong to a group that actually goes out and practices this stuff on a regular basis, in fact I founded this group many years ago. The group is called the New England Colonial Living History Group. This may sound like a strange name for a survival group, but the truth is that having an interest in both, 18th century Living History, and long term wilderness survival, I came to the conclusion that the best clothing, trail foods, equipment and skills for long term wilderness survival, came from the colonial period in the New World.

So that is what we do. Our 18th century gear is our BOB if you like. We can pick up our gear and walk out the door any time and survive long-term.
Le Loup.
 

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You foragers with Australian publications.... would you let me know what they say about Cupaniopsis anacardiopsis, aka the Tuckeroo or Carrotwood? A few grow here and fruit, but there is some confusion over edibility and which parts are edible when. Any info would be appreciated.
 

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I realise this thread is aimed at foraging for food, but whilst foraging you need to keep an open mind as to what else might be useful. I keep my eyes open for plant tinders, I put this in my haversack and prepare it when I make camp. Small kindling goes into the bag too, to save me having to forage when I make camp. You can never have too much kindling (dried grass, grass tree folage, twigs, manna gum bark etc). I store some in the back of my shelter in case I need to rekindle the fire at night.
Rocks for fire lighting and for my fusil, a shaped stick for my kettle hook, firewood and shelter. I always keep a look out for natural shelters, you never know when you might need one in a hurry, or just to save making a shelter. After a while it becomes a habit, and you will notice things more easily.
Diggings in the earth along the trail will tell you what animals are in the area, as will droppings (scat). Don't forget to look up. Tinder bracket fungus grows at any height on trees from the ground up. If it is too high, forage for a suitable rabbit stick.
When you find sign of game, take note of suitable saplings to use for trap springs. In the case of rabbits see if you can find where they have gone to ground. If you are not far from making camp for the night, you may wish to set a trap after making camp.
Le Loup.
 

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Thanks for the recommendations.

In case anyone is interested, A Field Companion to Australian Fungi (mentioned in my first post) was disappointing. It contains some nice colour photographs of about a hundred or so varieties of fungi but very little information on habitat, edibility, season, defining characteristics, etc. The author included some well known species but gave very little information even on those. They also stated in the introduction that fungi are members of the plant kingdom! In my opinion it wasn't worth the money.
Hi. I've got 'A field guide to Australian fungi' by Bruce Fuhrer. About 550 species. Great photos but minimal info. Does mention edibility but states 'this book is not intended as a guide to the edibility of wild fungi'. Also acknowledges that fungi are NOT plants :D::rolleyes:

I'm really interested in finding out more about edible fungi, have never dared try any. Went for an awesome walk today, so much fungi about!
 

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You foragers with Australian publications.... would you let me know what they say about Cupaniopsis anacardiopsis, aka the Tuckeroo or Carrotwood? A few grow here and fruit, but there is some confusion over edibility and which parts are edible when. Any info would be appreciated.
It's not listed in Tim Low's 'Bush Tucker' or Jennifer Isaac's 'Bush Food'.
Doesn't help much, sorry.

I like Native Cherry (Exocarpus cupressiformis) and LillyPilly (Syzygium sp). I reckon it'd be pretty darn hard to forage much though. I guess I need to learn to hunt/trap?
 

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I'm also a bit of a fan of eating weeds, given the paucity of foragables in SE Aus, colder zones. I was cleaning up the very small vegie patch (garlic, spuds, silverbeet that will hopefully self-seed) the other day, and purposfully left all the chickweed cos it's yum!
 

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Most of, if not all(!) the bushfood books seem to consentrate on the Top End, N.T. There is more wild foods up there. But there are foods lower down if you know what to look for. Bear in mind that there is no point in expending more enery looking for food than you can gain by eating that food IF found. You need to hunt and forage.
Foods in my area are: catsear, cattail, dandylion, nettle, raspberry, blackberry, dog rose, mistletoe, appleberry, doc, chickweed, mint,grass tree nectar, and some others that can be eaten but not recommended. Bound to be more and some I have forgotten.
Le Loup
 

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I am homeless and have lived/camped in the bush full time here in Southern Vic for many years. I have had to learn all the edible native foods myself as there are no good books on native foods for southern Aus. I often live for times on bush foods here and there are a lot more than you would think, many are not covered in books and are quite delicious (watermelon flavoured reed stems as one example (I don't know many 'proper' names).
In summer, you can easily live on the native foods around here by the sea or rivers, in winter it is a bit harder to find good plant foods.
I love company so if anyone would like to spend a weekend learning, I am happy to teach but I only get to a computer every 2-3 weeks in a nearby town so you have to be patient if you want an answer to your email.

Cheers,
Rowan
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[email protected]
 

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In South Australia fennel grows wild in the suburban areas (its in seed at the moment), catstail can be found in some places, common mallow at certain times of the year, sour sobs (those little yellow flowers that come up in winter/rainy months), pigface have a fruit that is edible and i believe the leaves are edible but they don't taste all that good to me. You can use pigface in the same way people use aloe to sooth skin etc. There are also loads of thistle type things that have edible parts and are easy to identify. Prickly lettuce is also prolific. Most of the seaweeds along the SA coast is edible. There are millions of crabs and muscles and stuff that is easy to catch. I have to say the biggest problem in South Australia is that the councils, government and evry person inbetween poisons weeds because they don't realise a lot of them are edible in most instances more nutriious than commercialy available crops. I am currently reaserching local plants. If the **** hits the fan all you'll have is the knowledge in your head and I plan to survive regardless of the event i.e. invasion, economic colapse or simply being made redundant at my job. I want to live ;)
 
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