Bush Foods, Tree's and Medicines
I suggest to everybody reading this that you do not eat anything from the bush as their are many poisonous fruits, berries ect that look very similar to ones that are listed below, unless you have someone with bush knowledge that knows the land and what you are eating.
Bloodwood Apple. An insect will sting the bark of the bloodwood tree and lay eggs inside, the eggs grow forming a big sack (2). It is best eaten when still moist inside (3,4). If left too long it is very dry (5). I have tasted this apple and it tastes like coconut. The sap or gum from the bloodwood tree was also used by the Kalkadoon people to waterproof kangaroo skin water bags and was also mixed with ochre to paint rock art.
Conkerberry Bush. This fruit is plentiful and has a slight sweet taste like a grape. It can also be stored and dried and eaten like a sultana. The Kalkadoon people would also scrape the roots and soak this in water and drink the mixture for aches and pains. The wood was also burnt as a mosquito repellent.
Bush Banana. The banana vine grows up and around another tree and fruits after the rainy season. The photo I have is of a dried banana but they are eaten when green and young. The leaves and flowers can also be cooked and eaten.
Kurrajong or Bottle tree. The seeds are taken out of the pods and cooked slowly over coals and then eaten and taste like a peanut. The two seed pods pictured have already dropped their seeds.
Gidyea or Gidgee Tree. This tree was used by the Kalkadoon people to make Nulla Nulla's, shields, boomerangs, swords and clapsticks. It is a very hard wood and will burn for hours in a fireplace. The gidgee gum can be eaten and is a bit like honey but with a slight sour taste and it can be eaten to cure a sore throat as well.
Bush Tomato. The bush tomato can be eaten once the seeds have been removed and the fruit it yellowy green when ready to eat. There are several types of poisonous bush tomatoes that look very similar to the edible ones so dont try them unless you know what you are eating.
Soap Tree or Wattle. The seed pods can be used as a form of soap and can also be used once lathered up with water as a mosquito repellent.
Caustic Bush. This is a very powerful healing bush and it contains a white milk inside the leaves and can get rid of warts and is also called the bandaid bush as you can apply it to cuts or sores and it will dry with a skin like a bandaid.
Pigweed Bush. This bush is edible and tastes a bit like lettuce and is eaten the same way. The whole plant is edible and the seeds can be used as a type of flour.
Wild Lemongrass. The stems can be boiled with water to make a lemon tea which is also used for sore throats.
Mistletoe berries or Snotty Gobbles. The mistletoe gets a long red flower and then fruits. The berries are yellow when ripe and are very sticky and sweet and are very nice to eat, if you ever eat one you will know why they are called Snotty Gobbles.
Native Rosella. The native rosella belongs to the hibiscus family and the fruit buds can be eaten and are shown just below the flower.
Pea Bush. When the seeds of the pea bush are young they can be eaten raw or the seeds can be dried and ground up for flour.
Snapping or Snappy Gum. Native bee's make a home inside the hollow branches of this tree and make honey inside. The Kalkadoon people would listen to hear the bee's buzzing inside the tree and then cut a piece of the branch so it exposed the honey. The cut branch continued to grow and did not die (2).
Turpentine Bush. A good source of witchetty grubs which are found at the roots of this bush. It is said that only 10 grubs a day is all that is needed for a man to survive in the bush.
Bush Cucumbers. Bush cucumbers grow on the ground from a vine and turn a yellow colour when the fruit is ready to eat. The fruit in the photo are dried.
Myrtle Tree. After the rains this tree shoots new growth which are straight and used for spears by the Kalkadoon people. The wood is exceptionally strong and when dried is exceptionally hard. A spear point would be attached with kangaroo tail sinew then covered in spinifex resin which when set would be as strong as cement. Notice the straight new shoots in the photo.
White River Gum. Found along the rivers the leaves can be used to make paper.
Ghost Gum Tree.
Bustard Turkey. A favoured food of the Kalkadoon people.
Rock Wallaby. Another food of the Kalkadoon people.
Rose Cottonbush. A relative of the cotton species.
Pussy or Possum Tails. Has a beautiful purple flower that resembles a possum tail.
Hakea Tree. The Kalkadoon people would suck the blossoms of the Hakea Tree for it's sweet honey like nectar. The flowers were also immersed in water to create a sweet tasting drink.
White Cockatoo. The eggs of this bird were used as a food source.
Wedgetail Eagle. The eagle and it's eggs were used as a food source by the Kalkadoon people.
Wild Plum or Bush Plum Tree. Used as a source of food it also has medicinal purposes. The bark was used to treat a wide variety of skin ailments such as infections, sores and boils. The fruit also contains a very high concentration of vitamin c.
Kangaroo. A favoured food of the Kalkadoon people.
Sandalwood Tree. The fruit is edible and the nuts were roasted and eaten as well. The nuts have a very high oil content and were also used to relieve aching joints. The emu loves eating this fruit as well.
Silver Box Tree. The hollow branches of the Silver Box tree and the Coolibah tree are used to make didgeridoo's.
Spinnifex.Termites make a mound in the middle of a spinnifex bush by using the resin from the spinnifex and building their mound. The Kalkadoon people would then collect the resin and boil it up to make it pliable and would then attach spear heads, axe heads ect to the wooden handles, they would also use it as a handle on a knife and once it set it was rock hard and solid. Spinnifex resin is rare and hard to find, the spinnifex bush can also be used to make paper.
Galahs and their eggs were used as a food source.
Bull frogs, wallaroo's, spinnifex pidgeons and tawny frog mouthed owl were all used as a food source.