PHILLIP ISLAND HIBISCUS Hibiscus insularis

    The young leaves of this plant can be eaten like spinach and are high in vitamin A and iron. Learning to cook them is the key — steaming or frying, rather than boiling, is recommended. 

    Photo Credit: James Moffatt

    NEW ZEALAND SPINACH Tetragonia tetragonioides

    Promoted in the 1880s in Europe and America sd s hardy, summer-growing spinach substitute, this plant may make you sick if eaten raw but, once blached, makes a good green, leafy vegetable. 

    Photo Credit: James Moffatt

    BANKSIA Banksia integrifolia

    Aboriginal people sucked the sweet-tasting nectar, soaked the blossoms in water to make drinks, and fermented them into a mead-like alcoholic brew. 

    Photo Credit: James Moffatt

    LEMON SCENTED MYRTLE Backhousia citriodora

    Smelling and tasting strongly of sweet lemon, this herb is used like lemon thyme in cooking or brewed into tea. 

    Photo Credit: James Moffatt

    MAGENTA LILLY PILLY Syzygium luehmannii

    Captain James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks gathered these fruits at Botany Bay in 1770. Eaten raw, they are high in vitamin C. 

    Photo Credit: James Moffatt

    BLUEBERRY LILIES Dianella caerulea

    These sweet berries can be eaten raw, in moderation, much like blueberries. The roots can also be eaten after pounding and roasting. 

    Photo Credit: James Moffatt

Native crops of the future

By AG STAFF | August 28, 2017

There are more than 6000 edible plants in Australia not widely used for food today. Many of these would consume less water and fertiliser than currently cultivated species. Australian Geographic thanks the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney.