Koori coast

Bush foods and medicines

Trisha Ellis, Joint Management Coordinator and Chairperson of the Cobowra Local Aboriginal Land Council, takes a group on a bush foods and medicines walk ...


There’s actually two plants here - there’s the Native spinach. This one here is the Native spinach. You can actually eat the small leaves but once they start to get much bigger than that they develop toxins. So if you want to eat the bigger leaves you have to pick the bigger leaves and you have to blanch it. You have to have boiling water, dunk it in the boiling water, pull it out and that will kill the toxins in it. With Captain Cook and the First Fleet that came out, a lot of the people on the boats were dying of scurvy, which is a deficiency in vitamin C, and they saw the Aboriginal people eating this, and he went up and somehow found out from people that it was a good vegetable. So he fed it to the crew and the convicts and all that, and that actually got rid of the scurvy. That was a staple vegetable for early settlers in Australia and they actually learned that from Aboriginal people. It’s called Warrigal greens, Native spinach, New Zealand spinach. It’s called a couple of different things. It has a big flower that comes up on it. You don’t eat the flower, all you eat is the leaves.