Bush Remedies

Much information about the medicinal uses of Australian Native Plants was lost in the early days and weeks of British settlement. This table seeks to try to piece together what is known or is thought to be..

As with anything involving plants unless you can positively identify them do not attempt to use them.

Common Name
Botanical Name
Description & Use Habitat
Pukati


Acacia beauverdiana

Small tree to 6m. Golden flowers. Ash from the top branches was mixed with Pituri and chewed. It is thought that this ash releases the alkaloids present in the tobacco, enhancing its effects. Prefers sandy soil. Drought hardy. Native to SW Western Australia, occurring in semi-arid locations.
Umbrella Bush, Two-Nerved Wattle Acacia bivenosa ssp wayi
Shrub to 3m tall. Produces golden globular flowers. The bark was used as a cough syrup boiled or soaked in water. Also, the ash can be combined with Duboisia hopwoodii for chewing. Native to arid southern Australia. Prefers dry alkaline soil. Doesn’t tolerate too many frosts. Drought tolerant.
Cuthbertson’s Wattle


Acacia cuthbertsonii

Shrub to 2m with twisted trunk. Yellow flowers. The bark has been used as an aid against toothache. Native to arid Western Australia. Prefers full sun. Drought tolerant.
Early Black Wattle, Queen Wattle Acacia decurrens
Tree to 14m. Dark trunk. Brilliant yellow flowers. Feathery green leaves. The bark is astringent. A preparation from the bark was used to treat dysentry and diarrhoea.. The bark has also been used in more modern times in the tanning industry. Native to cooler and wetter regions of NSW. Hardy to -7 deg C. Full sun.
Lignum vitae, Sickle-leaved Wattle Acacia falcata
Shrub to 3m. Small cream clustered flowers. Leaves resemble Eucalyptus. A lotion was made from the bark to treat skin disorders. Native to NSW and southern Queensland coastal areas. Prefers clay or shale soils. Part to full sun.
Velvet Wattle, Candelabra Wattle Acacia holosericea
Shrub to 2.5m. Small yellow flowers occur on spikes. A water infusion was made with the pounded roots to treat throat disorders. The leaves exude a substance that disturbs or poisons fish in waterholes and rivers to make it easy to catch them. The roasted or boiled seeds are nutritious and tasty. Native to tropical Australia. Found along watercourses and in open forest areas. Full sun.
Hickory Wattle, Lightwood Acacia implexa
Small tree to 4m. Cream globular flowerheads with 30 to 50 flowers inside. A lotion was made from the bark to treat skin disorders. Native to Victoria, NSW and SE Queensland. Many soil types. Part sun, moderate water. Frost tolerant.
Sticky Leaved Wattle

Acacia ixiophylla

Dark green shrub to 2.5m. The phyllodes are sticky. Flowers are yellow balls. It is reported that compounds found in its branches have tumour-fighting properties, although at this stage appropriate preparations and efficacy are unknown. Occurs in temperate to subtropical eucalypt forests or mallee scrub in NSW and Queensland as well as SW Western Australia. Part to full sun.
North Coast Wattle

Acacia leptocarpa

Small tree to 7m. Yellow flowers. An infusion in water was made with the crushed phyllodes to treat sore eyes. Native to tropical Australia. Found near creeks and waterways.
Blackwood, Black Sally Acacia melanoxylon
Medium to large tree to 30m. A hot infusion was made with the roasted bark to bathe sore and rheumatic joints. (Some people experience allergic asthmatic reactions to this tree, especially to its dust when used as wood – so don’t chop it down). Native to temperate southern Australia. Prefers well-watered rich soil.
Red Wattle Acacia monticola
Shrub to 4m. Flowers are clustered yellow balls. Sticky, hairy branches. A water infusion was made with stems or branches which was drunk or bathed in for coughs and colds. Native to arid tropical Australia. Poor soil. Full sun. Drought tolerant.
Prickly Wattle, Dead-finish Acacia tetrogonophylla
Shrub to 3m. Myriad beautiful yellow follows in globular clusters. Seeds are edible, both in the pod while still green, and dried, ground, mixed with water & baked in the earth. A root bark decoction was used to treat sores. The leaves were chewed to cure dysentry. An infusion was made from the cleaned inner bark and consumed for coughs. Wood ashes (minus bark) was used as an antiseptic. Occurs widely throughout Central Australia. Extremely tough & drought tolerant.
Poverty Bush Acacia translucens
Small shrub. Globular yellow flower clusters. Leaves and twigs are mashed together in water. Skin sores are bathed in the infusion and the infusion is rubbed over the head for headache. Tropical Western Australia and Northern Territory. Sandy soil. Full sun.
Elegant Wattle , Bramble Wattle

Acacia victoriae
Prickly shrub, yellow flowers. Contains compounds called avicins which have been shown to inhibit inflammation and cancer in laboratory studies. For food, probably the most popular wattle seed source. Nutritious and tasty. Occurs in semi-arid and arid southern Australia.
Available in our BUSH FOOD Shop
Australian Boab Tree , Bottle Tree

Adansonia gregorii
Tree to 15m. Deciduous in the dry season, extremely distinctive tree with swollen trunk (which can grow to more than 3m in diameter). Avoid fruit is around 15cm long. Large creamy white flowers. Smaller than its Madagascan cousin. Also known as Adansonia gibbosa. The fruit pith & seed is edible – either roasted or raw. The leaves and roots were used to treat digestive complaints. Native to tropical semi-arid regions of northwest Western Australia.
Common maidenhair fern , Valley Mist

Adiantum aethiopicum
Fern to 60cm high. Fine fronds up to 80cm long. Astringent and emetic. A soothing infusion is prepared with 1 to 5 parts fronds for every 100 parts water. Damp open river banks, creeks and gullies, all states including Tasmania. Part shade. Prefers sandy or loamy soil. Also found in South Africa and New Zealand.
Candlenut Tree

Aleurites moluccana
Large evergreen tree to 20m. Hairy large leaves crowd near the ends of branches. Olive-coloured ball-shaped fruit, containing one or two seeds. The seeds yield oil that is inedible and POISONOUS. When roasted, the kernels are edible and have laxative and reputedly, aphrodisiac effects. The pulped kernels have been used for headaches, fever and rheumatism. Northern NSW and SE Queensland. Variants are also native to many South Pacific and Asian equatorial countries. Prefers moist warm locations.
Spoon lily , Cunjevoi

Alocasia brisbanensis
Formerly grouped under Alocasia macrorrhizos. Large perennial plant to 1.5m. Large glossy dark green leaves are spade- or heart-shaped, surrounding small pale yellow-green flowers on the central stalk. The subsequent fruit is in the form of red berries, which look deceptively tasty, but are in fact poisonous. Has been used as an external stimulant and a mild counter-irritant. The juice of the leaves is reportedly valuable to treat sunburn. The plant is potentially irritating to sensitive areas of the body such s the eyes, and is therefore included for interest only. Native to Queensland.
Red Ash , Leatherjacket

Alphitonia excelsa
Tree to 20m. Flowers are cream to green in colour. The berries are red/black and occur in clusters. The leaves are leathery & elliptical. A water infusion of the leaves was used for bathing to cure headache or body pains, or gargled to treat toothache. Young leaf tips were chewed in case of stomach upset. Leaves were also applied to treat sore eyes. Native to northern tropical Australia and forest areas down to the east coast of NSW.
Pink Almond , White or Pink Ash Alphitonia petriei Tall tree to 45m. Dark bark. Leaves are smooth on the top and hairy underneath. Produces fragrant cream flowers. The black fruit is small and round. The bark was infused in boiling water for external application to treat aches and pains. Native to rainforests in tropical and subtropical Australia and nearby islands.
Sydney Red Gum , Smooth-barked Apple Gum

Angophora costata
Tall tree to 25m. Related to the eucalypts. Pinkish/ruddy bark. Large, rather gnarled trunk. White flowers in bunches. Beware: drops branches frequently. The trunk exudes a reddish substance (kino), a solution of which has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Native to SE Queensland and all along coastal NSW. Full sun. Can tolerate light frosts.
Hoop Pine , Moreton Bay Pine

Araucaria cunninghamii
Very large tree to 60m. Similar in appearance to Bunya Nut. The bark of this tree exudes a resin when cut. This resin can be dissolved in alcohol to treat kidney ailments. Native to southern Queensland and Northern coastal NSW. A variety also occurs in New Guinea. Likes good rainfall, full sun.
Liniment Tree , Waria-Waria Tree Asteromyrtus symphyocarpa Shrub or small tree to 10m with a bluish tinge. Flowers are golden-orange in globular clusters. Formerly known as Melaleuca symphyocarpa. The crushed leaves were inhaled to treat headache; the steam from a leaf decoction was used to clear the nasal passages. The crushed leaves or an infusion was rubbed over the body for aches and pains and over the chest to ease breathing. Native to swampy coastal areas of tropical northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Native Sassafras Atherosperma moschatum Tree to 20m. The crushed leaves are aromatic. A laxative tonic was made from a bark infusion. A more precise tincture has been used for ailments ranging from asthma and lung disease to heart disease. Native to Tasmania and southeastern mainland rainforests. Prefers a moist location.
Oldman Saltbush

Atriplex nummularia
Shrub to 2m. Grey oval leaves. Was used for the treatment of scurvy and blood diseases. Native to temperate and subtropical arid Australia. Full sun. Frost tolerant. OK in salty soil.
Available in our BUSH FOOD Shop
Lemon Scented Myrtle, Lemon Ironwood

Backhousia citriodora
Small bushy tree to 8m, although can sometimes reach 15m in the wild. Green leaves smell strongly of lemon. The younger leaves are more reddish. Flowers are cream or white and occur profusely when in bloom. The leaves smell amazingly like lemon and are used as a spice. A tea can also be prepared which is said to have a relaxing effect. Native to coastal Queensland. Prefers rich, moist soil. Part to full sun. Hardy to -8 deg C once established. Keep warm when young though.
Available in our BUSH FOOD Shop
Green Plum , Wild Plum Buchanania obovata Small deciduous tree to 6m. The fruit is a green berry resembling a plum. The bark is grey and rough. The leaves are light green. The green plum-like fruit was pounded up into a sweet edible paste. Cavities were treated with minced leaves and a gargled (not swallowed) mouthwash was prepared against toothache from an infusion of the inner bark and sapwood. The pure infusion was also used to bathe sore eyes. Native to tropical Northern Territory and Queensland near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Full sun, warm conditions.
Native or Christmas Box , Blackthorn Bursaria spinosa Tallish shrub with oval leaves with thorny branches. Fragrant cream flowers cover the plant in summer. The leaves contain a compound called Aesculin which is useful for certain skin conditions as well as in sun-tan lotion. Occurs generally in wetter areas of all states.
White Cypress Pine , Bribie Island Pine Callitris columellaris Medium-large tree to 30m. Tiny grey/green leaves grow off the stems. Rough dark bark. Leaves and twigs have been used in steam broths to treat colds and sores; the injured bark exudes a substance used in the coating of pills, and the scent is used in the cosmetics and aromatherapy industries. Occurs usually in semi-arid areas in all mainland states, although sometimes on the coast too. Drought tolerant.
Black Cypress Pine Callitris endlicheri Dark leaved triangular evergreen conifer to 13m. Tiny leaves, like C. columellaris, grow off the stems. The yellow resin of injured trees is rich in geranyl acetate. Has been used as a worming agent for horses. Cool rocky or mountainous environments in Eastern Australia from Victoria to southern Queensland.
Alexandrian Laurel , Tamanu Calophyllum inophyllum Medium tree to 20m. Thick dark trunk. Oblong leaves. Small white flowers are pleasantly fragrant. The nuts contain no oil when freshly picked, but when dried they contain Tamanu resin which is mixed with water and rubbed over the body to treat aches and pains, and also skin disorders. The oil from dried nuts has also been used as a laxative. In modern times the oil is being marketed as a beauty aid. Prefers part to full sun with well watered soil. Native to South Asia; occurs in tropical Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Beach Bean , Bay Bean Canavalia rosea Coastal vine or trailing herb with light green semi-succulent leaves and striking pink flowers. The pods are green and around 12cm long. An infusion was made with the crushed roots and rubbed over the skin for rheumatism, general pain, skin disorders, and colds. Occurs all over the world in tropical and subtropical coastal locations. In Australia it occurs from northern NSW up through Queensland and also in coastal Western Australia. In Queensland it is also sometimes found inland. It prefers warmth and can tolerate periods of drought. Full sun.
Native Pigface Carpobrotus rossii Prostrate herb spreading to 3m. Thick, succulent spiky leaves often tipped reddish or purple. The flowers have a white centre surrounded by brilliant thin purple petals. The red fruit is fleshy. Was used in Tasmania as a purgative. Both the fruit and the leaves are edible. Native in all southern states including Tasmania, predominantly in sandy coastal areas. Well drained soil; part to full sun.
Moreton Bay Chestnut , Blackbean Castanospermum australe Strong, handsome tall tree to 40m in the wild; frequently 10 to 20m in cultivation. Shiny green leaves on low spreading branches. Produces arrays of beautiful small red and yellow flowers hidden under the foliage. Pods follow which are 15-20cm long. The seeds were sliced and washed, and then boiled or roasted and eaten. Note that under normal conditions, unless prepared properly, the seeds are poisonous. Parts of the tree contain chemicals which, after careful extraction, have been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-HIV properties. Native to coastal rainforests from northern NSW to northern Queensland. Prefers moist fertile and well-drained soils. Also found on some Pacific islands. Part to full sun.
Coastal She-oak , Australian Pine Casuarina equisetifolia ssp equisetifolia Tall evergreen tree to 30m. Rough reddish-brown to grey bark. Wide spreading branches. Tiny grey-green leaves on the stems and branchlets. The bark is very astringent and was used to treat diarrhoea. A mouthwash has been used to cure toothache. Native to subtropical and tropical Australia, tropical Pacific islands, and to tropical and equatorial Asia.
Camphorwood , Indian Bay-Leaf Cinnamomum camphora Also known as Cinnamomum tamala. Medium to tall tree to 35m. Dark roughish bark. Tough 3-veined glossy leaves. Leaves are used as a substitute for cinnamon and are important in northern Indian cooking. Infusions of the bark and leaves are reportedly diuretic, carminative, and aid perspiration. Occurs in coastal forest areas of northern Queensland. Native to the Subcontinent. Note: This tree has been reported as a weed in eastern Australia (it is not native) and thus should be planted with consideration (for example, plant it in a large pot)
Native Grape , Jungle Vine

Cissus hypoglauca
Tall evergreen woody climber. Clusters of yellow flowers. Very thick, strong vine. The dark blue berries are edible. The berries were also crushed and mixed in water and gargled, to treat sore throat. Forest areas of eastern Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Frost tender, shade to part shade, rich soil.
Traveler’s Joy , Forest Clematis Clematis glycinoides Woody climber with green glossy leaves with profuse white flowers in spring. The leaves were crushed and inhaled to treat headaches and colds. Moist areas in forests and gullies from Victoria through up the east coast of Australia. Part to full shade.
Small Leaf Clematis , Fine-Leaved Clematis Clematis microphylla Strong climber with creamy-lime fragrant flowers and thin stems. The leaves were applied to soothe irritated skin. Coastal areas in all states except the Northern Territory. Prefers adequate water but can tolerate short droughts. Part to full sun.
Tickweed , Sticky Cleome Cleome viscosa Annual herb covered in sticky hairs. Flowers are yellow. The entire plant is fragrant. The seeds can be used as a condiment, and also to relieve the symptoms of fever. The leaves, stems and flowers can be mashed and applied externally to relieve body aches and pains, headaches, and skin irritations. Occurs in tropical Australia and worldwide. Tolerates a range of conditions.
Lolly Bush Clerodendrum floribundum Tall shrub to 5m with tapered oval leaves and large heads of long white flowers, followed by black berries above an enlarged red calyx. A lotion from the branches or bark was used for bodily aches. The roots were boiled and eaten. Native all across tropical Australia. Part to full sun.
Kapok Bush , Cotton Tree Cochlospermum fraseri Deciduous tropical small tree to 6m with starlike yellow flowers and green avoid pods filled with cotton-like material. The cooked roots were eaten and also the flowers (cooked or raw). The leaves were used in a decoction to help fever. Native to tropical northern Australia.
Desert Poplar, Codonocarpus cotinifolius Small tree to 10m. Lime green leaves. The leaves were chewed to help with toothache (the leaves have a flavour like mustard). A bark infusion in conjunction with Acacia cuthbertsonii was used to aid rheumatism. The roots were apparently chewed as a narcotic. Native to arid interior of Australia. Prefers sandy soils, tolerates drought. Full sun.
Pink Bindweed , Native Bindweed Convolvulus erubescens Small perennial creeper with green-grey hairy leaves and pink flowers. A boiled decoction of the entire plant was consumed to treat stomach pains and diarrhoea. Native to grassland areas of temperate and subtropical Australia. Prefers full sun and well drained soil.
Swamp Lily, River Lily Crinum pedunculatum Herbaceous plant to 2m. Large erect succulent leaves surround white fragrant elegant flowers growing from a stalk in the middle of the cluster. Beautiful. The juice of leaves was rubbed onto marine stings to reduce pain. Found along the NSW coast up into coastal Queensland. Hardy, from part shade to full sun, variety of drainage conditions.
Regal Birdflower Crotalaria cunninghamii Small shrub to 2.5m. The leaves, flowers and branches are hairy. The lime-yellow flowers occur on spikes at the end of branches. The leaves were mashed, soaked in water, boiled, and then cooled and used to bathe various body parts in case of soreness or pain (e.g. head, eyes, ears). Native to tropical arid and semi-arid Australia.
Rough Tree Fern Cyathea australis Tree fern to 20m. Large woody trunk which is actually a huge rhizome. The long dark green fronds at the top of the trunk droop only slightly from the horizontal. A magnificent and hardy tree fern. The roasted stalks of young fronds were eaten as an invigorating tonic. Native to wetter forest areas of the eastern states from Tasmania to SE Queensland. Very hardy. Prefers part shade.
Silky oilgrass , Silkgrass Cymbopogon bombycinus Grass to 1m. The stem bases are very fragrant. When the tops are in bloom they resemble silk, hence the name. An infusion of the entire plant was made to help sore eyes. Native to tropical Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Full sun, tolerates drought.
Native Pear Cynanchum floribundum Perennial herb to 1m. The leaves are broad, tapered at the ends, and the flowers are white and spiny. The small fruit is tubular and un-pear-like. The sap was rubbed over the body to elevate body temperature in cool weather. Native to tropical northern Australia. Note: New seeds will be available shortly.
Hop bitter-pea , Bitter-Pea Daviesia latifolia Shrub to 2.5m. Upright with large elliptical leathery leaves, small yellow flowers. The bitter-tasting leaves are infused in water to make an invigorating tonic and to treat fever. Native to temperate SE Australia from Tasmania to the ranges of New South Wales.
Narrowleaf Hopbush Dodonaea attenuata Shrub to 3m. Multi-stemmed and sometimes sticky, with very thin leaves. An infusion from the leaves and stems was used to rub over the body to reduce fever. Occurs all over mainland Australia, from mountainous areas to open grasslands and semi-arid places. Full sun.
Hopbush Dodonaea lanceolata Shrub to 2m. Like the other Dodonaeas, this plant is unrelated to the Humulus sp. (“hops” used to make beer). Thin spiky leaves with yellowish flowers. The mashed leaves were boiled and then applied as a poultice to the body to reduce pain (e.g. snakebite). A weaker infusion was drunk as a pain reducer. Native to tropical semi-arid Australia. Full sun.
Sticky hopbush , Giant Hopbush Dodonaea viscosa Shrub to 3.5m. Small yellow-green flowers. Thin medium leaves, sticky when young. The leaves were chewed for toothache (the juice from chewing wasn’t swallowed). A boiled root infusion was applied to damaged skin to expedite healing. Elsewhere in the world, the leaves have been chewed as a stimulant. Occurs in eastern Australian states, and also in other countries around the world. Prefers full sun, reasonably well watered.
Pituri Duboisia hopwoodii Shrub to 3m or rarely a small tree. Thin variable light green leaves. Flowers cluster at the ends of branchlets. Produces black berries about 0.5cm long. The branches smell like vanilla when cut. This plant was the most important socio-psychoactive drug among the Aborigines of Central Australia. The dried leaves were rolled up into balls mixed with the ash of certain species such as Acacia beauverdiana, and chewed as a stimulant (the effect changes to drowsiness after a while). Later on, when the Europeans arrived, some Aboriginals smoked Pituri like tobacco. Pituri contains nicotine and d-nor-nicotine, a related alkaloid. In high enough doses, nicotine has strongly psychoactive effects. An overdose of either nicotine or d-nor-nicotine (which is more toxic than nicotine) can be fatal, if vomiting does not intervene first.
Special note: The plant can be dangerous if used incorrectly,
and is strictly for botanical interest only – you should NOT
consume any preparation of the plant yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, D. hopwoodii is native to arid parts of all mainland states. Historically the most valuable prepared Pituri was harvested from SW Queensland. Full sun. Drought tolerant. Sandy soils. The efficacy (and toxicity) of this plant reportedly depends strongly on the environmental conditions in which it is grown.
Corkwood , Cork Tree Duboisia myoporoides Small tree or large shrub. Small white flowers and distinctive seeds are similar to D. hopwoodii. The berries contain scopolamine which is used pharmaceutically as an aid against motion sickness. More than one chemotype exists. The wood of some chemotypes was reportedly used as a narcotic by Aborigines. Occurs across the east coast of Australia from around Sydney up to northern Queensland. Prefers well watered sandy soil.
River Angee , Dogwood, Emu Bush Eremophila bignoniiflora Shrub to 5m. Rough grey bark, pale green slightly drooping leaves. Pretty cream bell-shaped flowers precede oval-shaped berries. The crushed leaves smell like dog urine, hence the nickname. The berries were boiled and the resulting decoction was drunk as laxative. Widespread over arid to semi-arid grasslands and floodplains in all mainland states. Prefers full sun. Will tolerate occasional frosts.
Wedge-leaved eremophila , Pinyuru Eremophila cuneifolia Small shrub to 1.5m. Leaves are wedge-shaped, flowers are purplish. A decoction was prepared from the leaves and drunk to help with colds. Native to arid Western Australia. Prefers full sun. Drought tolerant.
Winter Apple , Amulla Eremophila debilis Small shrub, almost prostrate & trailing to 2m. Light green leaves; small white to mauvish flowers. The green to pink-purple fruit is succulent and bitter-tasting. Also known as Myoporum debile. The plant was used as a treatment for venereal disease. The fruits were eaten and have a bitter taste. Native to coastal Northern NSW and SE Queensland.
Limestone Fuchsia , Rock Fuchsia Eremophila freelingii Small shrub to 2m. Sticky thin grey-green leaves, blue or lilac flowers. Aromatic when crushed. The crushed plant was infused in water and washed over the body, and also inhaled, to treat head-colds. Native to arid Central Australia. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Berrigan , Emu-Bush, Weeping Emu Bush Eremophila longifolia Shrub or small tree to 7m. Grey-green hairy leaves are thin and tapered. Flowers are pink or purplish-red and slightly hairy. Flowers almost all year. Crushed leaves were infused in water and the infusion was drunk for colds, and rubbed over sores or body aches. Native to arid temperate and subtropical parts of Australia.
Spotted Emu-Bush , Native Fuchsia Eremophila maculata Small shrub to 2m. Glossy dark green leaves. Tubular flowers can be pink, yellow, or a number of other colours. Crushed leaves were inhaled to help clear the nasal passages. Native all over inland Australia. Full sun. Drought tolerant. Mildly frost tolerant.
Bat’s Wing Coral Tree , Grey Corkwood Erythrina vespertilio Deciduous thorny tree to 25m. The bark is greyish. The light green leaf groups look like little bats, hence the name. Orange-red pea-like flowers hang in clusters. The bark was soaked in water and applied to the head in case of headache. Also, the leaves were boiled and the water drunk as a sedative and to promote deeper sleep. Native to open woodlands and forests from New South Wales to the Northern Territory. Full sun; drought resistant. Apparently can also tolerate frosts.
River Red Gum , Murray Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis Medium to large eucalypt to 35m. Deciduous light bark. The kino resin from the trunk is astringent and a water mixture has been used to treat diarrhoea. A leaf infusion was used to bathe the head in case of colds or fevers. Native to all mainland states in semi-arid or arid areas along watercourses and low-lying flats. Full sun; drought tolerant.
Lemon-scented Gum Eucalyptus citriodora Medium to large eucalypt to 40m, with smooth deciduous grey bark. The leaves of this eucalypt contain a lemon-scented oil that is rich in citronellal, which has certain specific antibacterial properties. The kino resin from the bark contains citriodorol, which is antibiotic. The oil from the leaves of this tree is used industrially. Native to coastal Queensland. Full sun.
Variable Barked Bloodwood , Gum-Topped Bloodwood Eucalyptus dichromophloia Medium eucalypt to 25m. Bark is red underneath. A weak solution of the kino resin from the bark was consumed as a tonic, and also as a remedy for toothache when used as a mouth rinse. The nectar from the flowers was consumed to treat colds and coughs. Native to grassy woodlands of tropical Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Full sun.
Broadleaf Peppermint Eucalyptus dives Medium eucalypt to 20m. Short trunk with a spreading canopy. The grey bark is rough and textured. The oils extracted from the leaves are used as antiseptics and in aromatherapy. The smoke from the leaves was applied from beneath a person with fever. Native to SE Australia in mountainous areas. Frost tolerant. Full sun.
Bowen ironbark , Queensland Grey Ironbark Eucalyptus drepanophylla Medium eucalypt to 30m. Rough bark. The bark was boiled and the decoction was used to bathe sores. Native to eastern Queensland. Full sun.
Tasmanian Blue Gum Eucalyptus globulus ssp globulus Tall to very tall eucalypt occasionally reaching 70m. The bluish-grey bark is deciduous. The young leaves are a blue-green colour. A gorgeous, mighty tree. The tree is now cultivated worldwide for its volatile oils which help clear the passages and treat aches and pains. Native to Tasmania and southern Victoria. Full sun. Tolerates frosts.
Red Bloodwood Eucalyptus gummifera Medium to tall eucalypt to 35m. Rough, flaky, fissured bark. The bright red kino (gum resin from the bark) gives the common name. The kino resin is astringent and has been used to treat sores associated with venereal diseases. Native to coastal areas from Victoria to Queensland. Full sun.
Scribbly gum Eucalyptus haemastoma Medium eucalypt to 15. The very light deciduous bark, which glows ghostly white in the moonlight, has wavy/scribbly lines over its surface, which are caused by a certain species of moth. Often assumes a rather deformed appearance. A strange, beautiful species of eucalypt. The kino resin has antibacterial properties and was used to treat cut and sores, as well as being taken internally for dysentery. Native to coastal New South Wales, especially in sandstoney areas.
Red Stringybark Eucalyptus macrorhyncha ssp macrorhyncha Medium eucalypt to 30m. Trunk is usually straight, but sometimes crooked or deformed. Bark is fissured and brown. The kino gum resin is astringent. The leaves are a source of rutin, a bioflavonoid which acts in conjunction with other substances to strengthen the immune system. Native to temperate south eastern Australia, sometimes in South Australia too. Tolerates frost. Full sun.
Spotted Gum Eucalyptus maculata Tall eucalypt to 40m. Trunk is distinctively straight, with smooth white-grey bark which peels in spots, hence the name. The kino resin, when mixed with water and swallowed, is reputed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Native to coastal eastern Australia. Prefers slightly sandy soil.
Coolibah Eucalyptus microtheca Small eucalypt to 12m. Bark varies from very light to brown, and dull green-blue-grey pointed leaves. The inner bark was mashed and prepared into a poultice to treat snakebite. Native all over northern Australia. Reportedly hardy to -10 deg C, but its native habitat is warm.
Ghost Gum Eucalyptus papuana var aparrerinja Medium eucalypt to 20m with smooth white deciduous bark, hence the name. The bark was broken and an infusion was drunk to treat colds and to bathe sore eyes. Native to tropical Australia.
Blackbutt Eucalyptus pilularis Tall eucalypt to 50m. The trunks are distinctively straight. The kino gum resin is astringent. Ranges all across the NSW coast into southern Queensland over a variety of soil types.
Sydney Peppermint Eucalyptus piperita Medium eucalypt to 20m. Rough grey bark. The leaves, when crushed smell similar to peppermint. The leaf oil extract has been used to treat digestive problems. Native to the Sydney area and central coastal NSW.
Blue Mallee , Blue-leaved Mallee Eucalyptus polybractea Large shrub/small mallee to 9m. Multi-stemmed with blue-green leaves. The leaves, when crushed, smell very strongly of eucalyptus. The crushed leaves are an industrial source of eucalyptus oil to treat colds, body aches, etc. Native to semi-arid parts of eastern Australia.
Long-fruited Bloodwood Eucalyptus polycarpa Medium eucalypt to 15m. Rough flaky bark. The kino bark resin was eaten in case of dysentery. Native to outback NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Snappy Gum , Scribbly Gum, Northern Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus racemosa Medium eucalypt to 25m. Like E.haemastoma, the deciduous bark has characteristic “scribbles”. The kino resin was used in case of diarrhoea. Native to the Sydney and central coast area of NSW. Full sun. Adequate water.
Red Stringybark , Red Mahogany Eucalyptus resinifera Medium to tall eucalypt to 30m. Stringy red bark. The inner bark was rubbed onto the skin in case of venereal disease. Native to coastal eastern Australia. Prefers full sun, adequate water, sheltered location.
Gully Gum , Blackbutt Peppermint Eucalyptus smithii Medium to tall eucalypt to 45m. The lower bark is deciduous, rough, fragrant & grey. The upper shed bark hangs in long ribbons from the branches. Crushed leaves are a good source of eucalypt oil. Native to coastal ranges of southeastern Australia.
Mountain Bloodwood , Inland Bloodwood, Western Bloodwood Eucalyptus terminalis Medium to tall eucalypt with persistent light grey bark. The red bark kino was mixed in water and consumed for diarrhoea and also for indigestion and chest pain. Native sandstone ridges in semi-arid and arid areas of NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Moreton Bay Ash , Carbeen Eucalyptus tessellaris Medium to tall eucalypt. The lower bark is cracked in a regular fashion while the upper bark is smooth. A bark infusion was prepared and consumed for dysentery. Native to northern NSW and Queensland.
Darwin Stringybark Eucalyptus tetrodonta Medium to tall tree to 30m. The bark is rough and persistent. A bark infusion was prepared and consumed for diarrhoea. A mashed leaf infusion was consumed for headache and fever. Native across tropical northern Australia. Full sun, does best in sandy soil.
Manna Gum , Ribbon Gum, White Gum Eucalyptus viminalis Tall eucalypt to 45m. Lower bark is dark, upper bark is light, and sheds in ribbons. The leaves have been used as a laxative, and were also smoked over fire to reduce fever. Native to temperate southeastern Australia including Tasmania as well as mountainous areas of southeast Queensland.
Youman’s Stringybark , Eucalyptus youmanii Small eucalypt to 15m. The fibrous ruddy bark is thick and fissured. The leaves are a source of rutin, a bioflavonoid which acts in conjunction with other substances to strengthen the immune system. Native to NSW and southern Queensland, especially in damper areas.
Leatherwood Eucryphia lucida Usually shrubby but occasionally large tree to 25m. Leathery glossy leaves are almost white underneath, and sticky when young. White flowers are fragrant. The fragrant resin exuded by the plant was used as an antiseptic. Occurs in Tasmania in rainforest locations. Keep well watered.
Caustic weed Euphorbia drummondii Small prostrate herb (weedy in many places) with smooth small dull bluish or reddish-green leaves which are sometimes serrated. The sap is milky-white and corrosive. An infusion of the plant was prepared and drunk for diarrhoea, dysentery, fever and rheumatism. Applied topically for skin irritation. The sap was also applied in case of venereal disease. Occurs in all mainland states in predominantly inland areas. Very hardy.
Sandpaper Fig Ficus coronata Medium fig tree to 12m. Broad dark-green leaves are rough on the top. The edible fig is between 1 and 2cm in diameter and is dark purple when ripe. The milky sap of young stems is applied to wounds. A poultice is made from the bark too. The purple-black fruit are edible and sweet, once the hairy skin has been removed. Native to rainforest environments near the coast, from eastern Victoria through to Queensland and into the Northern Territory. Prefers moist soil, part shade.
Leopardwood , Leopard Tree Flindersia maculosa Small to medium tree to 15m. The bark sheds irregularly and thus looks spotty like a jigsaw puzzle. The resin from the trunk has been used to treat diarrhoea. Native to inland NSW and Queensland. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Wilga , Australian Willow Geijera parviflora Small tree to 9m with profuse canopy of long thin leaves, making the tree resemble a willow. Tiny white flowers. The leaves are infused in water and drunk to alleviate pain. The raw leaves were chewed to treat toothache. The dried and crumbled leaves were smoked in conjunction with other species and produce drowsiness. They have been use ceremonially. Native to semi-arid and arid regions all over the mainland. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Hop Goodenia Goodenia ovata Small dense shrub to 1.5m with bright green leaves and pretty yellow flowers. Sometimes the foliage is rather sticky. The leaves and stems were infused in water and drunk to treat diabetes. Widespread across eastern Australia except in the far north. Very hardy.
Blue Fan Flower , Goodenia scaevolina Small dense shrub to 1.5m. The leaves are serrated. The flowers are a beautiful blue. The juice of the crushed roots was consumed to treat coughs. Native to tropical Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Sticky Goodenia Goodenia varia Clumping low shrub less than 1m. Leaves are toothed and slightly rigid. Yellow flowers appear sporadically throughout the year. A leaf decoction was used as a very mild sedative. Occurs in southern Australia from coast to coast. Full sun, drought hardy, likes clay soils, frost resistant.
Caustic Bush , Blister Bush, West Pilbara Grevillea Grevillea pyramidalis Small tree to 10m. Blue-green leaves and bright yellow/white flower clusters. The greenish inner bark was mashed in water until it turned white, and then rubbed around women’s breasts to induce lactation. Tropical Western Australia along the slopes and plains.
Gyro Damson Gyrocarpus americanus Small deciduous tree with a thick trunk and smooth bark. The large leaves are ovoid to heart-shaped and often hairy. The roots and young stems were infused in water and rub on day-old cuts as an antiseptic. The infusion was also rubbed over rheumatic parts of the body. Tropical Western Australia and Northern Territory. Often found in rocky places.
Mardja , Bloodroot Haemodorum spicatum Perennial stalky herb to 1m. The flowers are deep purple, almost black. The bulbs are red, hence the name. The bulbs were roasted and used as a spice. It also apparently treated dysentery. Native to Western Australia.
Dyaridany Hakea macrocarpa Small tree to 8m. Long narrow leaves are hairy on both sides. The yellow-green flowers are clustered and precede ovoid fruit about 4cm long. The charcoal from the burnt wood was used to open up cuts. Tropical arid regions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Black Speargrass , Tanglehead Grass Heteropogon contortus Grassy clumping plant to 1m with brownish flowered spikes. The narrow leaves were infused in water to help coughs. The plant was also chewed like tobacco. Occurs worldwide including over tropical Australia.
Cotton tree , Yellow Hibiscus Hibiscus tiliaceus Small tree to 9m. Round heart-shaped leaves are smooth and soft and profuse. The flower is a beautiful large yellow spiral funnel with a crimson centre. The leaves are wrapped around food before cooking to add flavour, and the flowers are edible. The bark and sap-wood are infused in water and poured over wounds as an antiseptic. Occurs in subtropical and tropical coastal regions of Australia, and worldwide.
Goatsfoot convolvulus Ipomoea pes-caprae ssp brasiliensis Trailing cover to 10m long. The flowers are pink funnels at intervals between the alternate ovoid leaves. A boiled leaf infusion was applied to sores. The infusion was drunk to treat venereal disease. Leaves were heated and applied to boils to induce discharge. Has also been used in Brazil for different purposes. Occurs over coastal areas across Australia. Occurs worldwide also.
Rock Isotome , Wild Tobacco Isotoma petraea Small herb to 30cm high. Clustered erect stems hold sharply serrated leaves. The medium flowers are pale blue with 5 distinct petals like a star. Quite a pretty herb. The dried leaves were rolled up and chewed like tobacco as a stimulant. When mixed with Acacia aneura (mulga) the dried crushed plant was used as a general pain and discomfort inhibitor. Native to dry rocky slopes across interior Australia.
Australian Hollyhock , Flood Mallow Lavatera plebeia Small short-lived perennial herb to 1.5m. The leaves are medium-green and up to 15cm in diameter. The flowers are lilac to purply-magenta, about 2.5cm across, with distinct petals. A poultice was made by boiling the leaves, which was applied to skin boils. Native to temperate inland southern Australia and occasional in Central Australia. Prefers full sun, good drainage.
Lemon-Scented Tea Tree Leptospermum petersonii Generally a shrub to 4m with small, thin leaves and small white flowers. Smells markedly of lemon. Apart from this plant’s uses in perfume and aromatherapy, it is antiseptic, reputedly a mild sedative, and is also a powerful insect repellant. The active components include citronellal and citral. Native to eastern NSW and southern Queensland. Tolerates frost once established. Moderate water, full sun.
Purple Loosestrife , Lythrum salicaria Small herbaceous plant to 1m. Erect branches crowned in pink-purple flower bunches. Spectacular when it occurs in clumps or in a field; however this plant is invasive. The entire plant has astringent properties and has been used for such conditions as diarrhoea, and irregular or heavy menstrual flow; has also used to reduce blood sugar levels. Occurs in temperate to subtropical wetter areas of NSW and Queensland. This is an introduced herb and occurs worldwide, including Europe and North America.
Smooth-shelled Macadamia , Macadamia integrifolia Small to medium tree to 15m. The leaves are glossy, medium to dark green. The white flowers occur in a long raceme. The fruit is, of course, the Macadamia Nut, with a smooth hard green shell about 2.5cm in diameter. It is this species which is the most widely cultivated. The nuts are edible and delicious, either raw or roasted. Australia’s only major native edible commercial crop. The oil from the nuts can be prepared into a soothing skin lotion. When host to bees, the honey has antibacterial properties. Native to a small area of southeastern Queensland. Subtropical rainforest, part to full sun. This tree is now cultivated all over the world. Many people mistakenly believe that it is native to Hawaii.
Medicinal Tea Tree , Australian Tea Tree, Ti Tree Melaleuca alternifolia Shrub or small tree to 6m, with the canopy spreading to around 4m. The bark is papery and the leaves are small and pointed. The small white or cream flowers are in clustered spikes. “Tea tree oil” is extracted via steam distillation from the leaves. This oil is bacteriostatic and germicidal and has been used to treat sores, cuts and boils as well as various skin conditions. Native to northeastern NSW and southeastern Queensland. Prefers well watered rich soil, well drained, in full sun.
Hillock Honey Myrtle Melaleuca hypericifolia Shrub to 6m. The bark becomes papery with age. The habit becomes weeping also. The leaves are opposite, narrow, and dull-green. The flowers are beautiful red spiky clusters. The leaves are crushed and inhaled to treat headache. Native to moist southeastern NSW. Prefers a sunny position with adequate water.
Snow in Summer Melaleuca linariifolia Small tree to 10m. The whitish flower clusters envelope the tree in summer, hence the name. A very showy specimen. The leaves contain antibacterial oil similar to that of M. alternifolia. Native to coastal areas in eastern Australia. Prefers moist conditions.
Broad-Leaved Paperbark , Melaleuca quinquenervia Medium tree to 25m. The bark is papery and spongy. The leaves are stiff and relatively narrow. The flowers are clustered on small spikes in a similar manner to M. alternifolia. The leaves were mashed and a water infusion was drunk to relieve headaches and colds. The distilled oil contains cineole which is applied externally to help rheumatism and neuralgia, as well as being used as an expectorant. Native to coastal and swampy areas from NSW right up to northern Queensland. Prefers plenty of water.
Broombush , Broom Honey Myrtle Melaleuca uncinata Small shrub to 2m. Narrow leaves, small yellow-golden globular flower clusters. The leaves were chewed to treat catarrh (nose or throat inflammation). Surprisingly for a Melaleuca, native to semi-arid and arid areas of the eastern states of Australia. Full sun.
Cape Lilac , White Cedar Melia azedarach var australasica Medium to tall tree to 40m. Deciduous leaves. Lacy lilac flowers have a fragrance resembling chocolate. A good ornamental tree. Berries are around 2cm in diameter. The fruit pulp was used to treat skin diseases. All parts of the plant are bitter and purgative. The fruit is poisonous. Native to rainforests and moist locations in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Full sun.
River Mint , Australian Mint, Native Mint

Mentha australis
Creeping herb with small tapered leaves, with the flowers blooming at leaf junctions. A much stronger mint than normal peppermint or spearmint. Makes an interesting mint tea, which is reputedly good for easing the effects of colds. The crushed leaves were sniffed to relieve headache. Shaded areas near waterways (usually inland) in all states.
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Great Morinda , Cheesefruit, Noni Morinda citrifolia Large shrub or small tree to 12m. Large glossy oval leaves to 30cm. The small white flowers grow from a fleshy structure. The ripe fruit is green-white and ovoid, and smells like vomit! The fruit is bland but edible, raw or cooked, sometimes with salt. The young leaves can be eaten as a vegetable. The juice is high in Vitamin C and is marketed today as a tonic. An infusion of the rootbark was used as an antiseptic. A preparation of the roots and trunk has hypotensive properties Occurs along the seashore of tropical Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as over many Pacific islands and SE Asia. Prefers wet, swampy ground.
Sugarwood , Ngural Myoporum platycarpum Small tree to 7m. The bark often exudes pink resin as a result of insect wounds. Medium sized leaves can be slightly sticky. The small white flowers have purple spots . The sweet bark resin caused from insect wounds is a laxative. Native to semi-arid inland areas of southern states from Victoria to Western Australia. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Leichhardt Tree , Nauclea orientalis Medium tree to 25m. Large dark glossy leaves. Can be briefly deciduous. Attractive white and yellow flowers occur in ball-like clusters. The bark and wood are bitter and an alcoholic infusion has been used for a tonic, to cure fever, to induce vomiting and to treat snakebite. Externally it was used to treat rheumatism. Native to coastal northern Queensland and the Northern Territory. Also occurs across topical Asia. Prefers wet conditions.
Sacred Lotus , Nelumbo nucifera Aquatic perennial herb. Large circular leaves rise from the water surface. The flowers are large, multi-petaled, pink and fragrant; a spectacular plant indeed. Incidentally, a seed from this species is the oldest seed ever to have been germinated, at the age of 1288 years. The petals of its spectacular flowers are astringent. The milky sap/juice from the stalks have been used to treat diarrhoea. Native across Asia and into coastal tropical Australia from Western Australia to Queensland. Obviously, needs water.
Native Bleeding Heart , Queensland Poplar Omalanthus nutans Shrub to 6m. Leaves are green on the top side, often dull red underneath. Flowers are small and vary from yellow-green to red. Previously known as Omalanthus populifolius. The leaves were crushed and used to stop bleeding. Native to shady moist areas of New South Wales and Queensland. Part to full shade. Frost tender.
Emu Apple , Sour Plum, Native Nectarine, Desert Plum Owenia acidula Small tree. The leaves comprise many darker glossy mini-leaves. The fruit is reddish and succulent and very sour. The fruit is edible, but not particularly tasty – too sour. The wood was boiled and the cooled infusion was used to bathe sore eyes. Was used to treat malaria. Native to arid Central Australia. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Desert Walnut , Owenia reticulata Small tree to 10m. Large leaves comprise smaller smooth leathery mini-leaves. The seeds were roasted and extracted, and applied to sores. A leaf infusion was used as a poultice. The nutty fruits were possibly eaten. Coastal areas of tropical Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Sandy soil. Full sun.
Quinine Tree , Bitterbark Petalostigma pubescens Small tree to 7m. Small oval leaves, yellow flowers. The small fruit is yellow to red and hairy. The bitter tasting fresh fruit and bark have been made into a tonic. The bark has also been used to treat fever, and a bark infusion is astringent and antiseptic. The fresh fruits were placed inside the mouth (not swallowed) to treat toothache. Native to coastal areas of tropical northern Australia and as far down as the coastal NE of NSW. Grows in thickets on hill sides.
Quinine Bush , Petalostigma quadriloculare Small shrub to 1m. Yellow flowers in leaf margins. Fruit is similar to P. pubescens. Same as P. pubescens. The bitter tasting fresh fruit and bark have been made into a tonic. The bark has also been used to treat fever, and a bark infusion is astringent and antiseptic. The fresh fruits were placed inside the mouth (not swallowed) to treat toothache. Native to coastal areas of tropical northern Australia. Grows in rocky areas. Generally similar distribution to P. pubescens.
Butterbush , Weeping Pittosporum Pittosporum phillyraeoides Small tree to 10m. Weeping slender habit. The leaves are dark green and the flowers are small and yellow. The fruit is bitter. An infusion was made of the leaves, fruit and bark and drunk to treat pain and cramps. A boiled infusion of the fruit was applied externally to treat skin disorders. Native to semi-arid and arid regions all over the mainland. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Brown Pittosporum , Pittosporum venulosum Small tree to 10m. The flowers are fragrant. The fruit is golden and globular. The mashed or bruised roots were sniffed as an aphrodisiac. Native to rainforests in northern Queensland. Prefers moist habitat.
Indian Beech , Pongamia pinnata Small tree to 8m. Leaves vary from burgundy to light green to dark green throughout the year. The flowers release a subtle fragrance during the night. The seed oil has been used to treat skin disorders and rheumatism. The leaves were made into a poultice to treat ulcers. All parts of this plant are toxic and will induce vomiting if consumed internally. Occurs in tropical coastal Queensland and Northern Territory, as well as across tropical Asia.
Pigweed , Purslane

Portulaca oleracea
Small prostrate annual herb to 0.5m. The leaves are succulent and the flowers are small and yellow. A weed in many places. The plant is a diuretic and has been used to cleanse the blood. This plant has been introduced to Australia and occurs worldwide.
Round-leaf Mint Bush Prostanthera rotundifolia Shrub to 2.5m. Small medium-green rounded leaves, sometimes with a purplish hue, pink-purple flowers. Wonderfully scented! Is used along with Mentha australis to make a native mint tea. The volatile oil of P. rotundifolia has carminative properties. Occurs across the south- eastern side of Australia, including many areas of NSW and Victoria. Likes a sheltered position with adequate watering.
Common bracken Pteridium esculentum Fern to 3m. Fast growing. The rhizome is long and covered in reddish hairs. The plant is reportedly anthelmintic and astringent. An infusion of the leaves and stalks has been used to treat rheumatism. The juice of the young stems has been used to treat insect bites. Native to moist, shady, cooler areas of all states including Tasmania. Also found in New Zealand.
Rhyncho , Snout Bean Rhynchosia minima Prostrate or climbing herb. Groups of three leaflets are ovate. Yellow-reddish flowers are pendulous and small. Plant is a source of prodelphinidin, which is an antibiotic. Occurs in tropical Queensland and the Northern Territory; also occurs worldwide.
Quangdong , Native Peach

Santalum acuminatum
Shrub or small tree to 8m but usually around 3m. The plant is parasitic, with its roots attaching themselves to the roots of another shrub, herb or grass. The leaves are distinctly grey-green and are leathery and variable in size. The flowers are small, white, and occur in clusters at the ends of branchlets. The greenish or yellow fruit is about 3cm in diameter and becomes bright red when ripe. The edible fruit is high in vitamin C and various minerals, and is made into jams, pies, or eaten raw. The ground seed kernels have been used as a liniment. The root was ground and an infusion was drunk to treat rheumatism. The leaves were crushed and a poultice was made to treat sores and boils. Native to semi-arid and arid regions of mainland Australia. Prefers full sun and sandy soils.
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Plumbush , Northern Sandalwood Santalum lanceolatum Shrub or small tree to 7m. Rough grey bark and medium sized grey leaves with small clusters of cream flowers. The red berries are about 1cm in diameter and become dark purple or black when ripe. The sweet-tasting fruit was eaten raw. They are reputed to be slightly narcotic. A boiled infusion of the leaves and bark was consumed as a purgative. A poultice of the roots was applied to treat rheumatism. Widespread across Australia, throughout the inland as well as in drier coastal regions.
Fragrant Sandalwood , Australian Sandalwood Santalum spicatum Small tree to 8m. The bark is rough and the wood is very fragrant, hence the name. The flowers are very small, occurring in bunches, and are green on the outside and reddish inside. An infusion or decoction of the inner bark was drunk as a cough medicine. The inside of the nuts was rubbed on the body to treat stiffness and colds. The oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Native to semi-arid and arid regions of Central and Western Australia. Full sun, drought tolerant. Prefers sandy loam.
Prickly Fanflower , Currant Bush Scaevola spinescens Small shrub to 2m. The plant is hairy and often spiny. The flowers are very sparse and are cream or ruddy yellow. A root infusion was drunk to treat stomach ache and urinary complaints. A decoction of the stems was drunk to treat sores and boils. The entire plant was burned and the fumes inhaled to treat colds. Native to arid central Australia. Prefers full sun, sandy soil.
Silver Cassia , Feathery Cassia Senna artemisioides ssp artemisioides Small shrub to 2m. The leaves and branches are covered in very fine white hair, making the overall appearance of the plant silvery grey. Narrow grey/silver leaves to 5cm, flowers are bright yellow/orange. Formerly called Cassia artemisioides. The ash of this plant was mixed with Pituri into a ball for chewing. Native to subtropical and tropical arid Western Australia across Central Australia to inland tropical and subtropical Queensland.
Pepperleaf Senna , Ant Bush Senna barclayana Shrub to 2m. Compound leaves of 8 to 20 leaflets 2.5cm long. Flowers are sparse. Formerly Cassia barclayana. The plant is poisonous. It is related to an Indian senna which has been used as a laxative and for the treatment of skin disorders. Included for interest only. Native to subtropical and tropical eastern states, both coastal and inland areas. Also occurs in tropical and equatorial Asia.
Australian Senna , Senna odorata Tall shrub. Leaves are comprised of 6 to 10 pairs of leaflets. The veined flowers are yellow and are followed by flat seed pods. Formerly Cassia odorata. The leaves have been used as a laxative. Native to semi-arid NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Ribfruit Senna , Smooth Cassia Senna pleurocarpa var pleurocarpa Shrub to 3m. Compound light green leaves with 5 leaflet pairs. Veined flowers are pale yellow in loose bunches. Formerly Cassia pleurocarpa. The leaves and pods are laxative. The plant is poisonous and included for interest only. Native to arid mainland Australia. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Sesbania , Ngean-jerry Sesbania sesban Shrub to 3m. Leaves are compound with 10 to 20 pairs of leaflets. The yellow flowers occur in pendulous bunches and the upper petal is purple. A poultice is made from the leaves, which are warmed and mixed in castor oil and applied to skin boils. Occurs in tropical coastal Queensland and worldwide.
Native pepper , Solanum capsiciforme Shrub to 2m. Narrow concave leaves, with light violet flowers about an inch in diameter. The green fruits resemble little capsicums. The plant is a source of solasodine, which is used to produce steroidal hormones in the medicine industry as contraceptives. Native to arid areas of South Australia and Western Australia. Drought tolerant, full sun.
Kangaroo Apple Solanum aviculare Shrub to 2m. Long dark leaves on purplish stems. The flowers are mauve or purplish. The fruit is a pale orangish berry about 5cm in diameter. The plant is a source of solasodine, which is used to produce steroidal hormones in the medicine industry as contraceptives. The fruit is edible but not very tasty. Occurs widely in southern states from Western Australia across to Victoria and also Tasmania. Prefers sheltered, moist locations.
Flannel Bush , Grun Grun Solanum lasiophyllum Shrub to 2m. Leaves are green-grey and hairy, flowers are purple with yellow stamens in the centre. A poultice was made from the boiled roots and applied to treat leg swellings. Native to coastal southwestern Western Australia. Prefers sandy soil.
Oondooroo Solanum simile Small shrub. Dark green leaves are narrow. Small violet flowers. The plant is a source of solasodine, which is used to produce steroidal hormones in the medicine industry as contraceptives. The fruit is edible but not very tasty. Native to temperate arid mainland Australia. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Solanum symonii Small shrub. Leaves are slightly concave. Flowers are about an inch in diameter. The fruit is under and inch in diameter, and green to white when ripe. The plant is a source of solasodine, which is used to produce steroidal hormones in the medicine industry as contraceptives. The fruit is edible but not very tasty. Native to southern temperate arid Australia from Western Australia to South Australia. Full sun.
Sea Coast Laburnum , Golden Chain Sophora tomentosa Shrub to 5m. Largish ovate leaves to 20cm in length, comprising 11 to 17 leaflets. The flowers are large and golden in clusters. Produces pods up to 18cm in length. The roots and seeds were used to treat liver problems. Note that the seeds are apparently highly toxic, and the plant is included for interest only. Native to coastal subtropical and tropical eastern Australia. Prefers sandy soil.
Dampier Pea , Swainsona pterostylis Small semi-prostrate shrub. The leaves are compound. The beautiful flowers are violet, with a sweet fragrance. The whole plant was mashed up and a boiled poultice was made to treat bruising and inflammation. Native to hot semi-arid areas of northern Western Australia and NW Northern Territory. Full sun.
Tasmanian Mountain Pepper

Tasmannia lanceolata
Shrub to 5m. Leaves are dark green, narrow and leathery on reddish stems. Small yellow creamy flowers. The fruit is small, dark red or black. The dried berries or leaves are used to make a very peppery seasoning. The bark has been used to treat scurvy and as a stomachic. Native to Tasmania, also found occasionally in Victoria and southern New South Wales. Prefers to grow at altitude. Moist conditions.
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Desert Broombush , Round Templetonia Templetonia egena Medium to tall shrub, which is leafless, in that the leaves are reduced to scales on the thin cylindrical branches. The yellow-brown flowers are small and clustered on short stalks. The plant contains an alkaloid called sparteine, which as a sulfate compound has been used to induce labour. Native to the inland areas of all mainland Australian states.
Tulip Tree , Portia Tree Thespesia populnea Medium tree to 15m. Light to medium green leaves are heart-shaped, flowers are funnel-shaped and yellow with a purplish centre. Fruit is a hard capsule less than 2 inches in diameter. The juice from the unripe fruit has been used to treat skin diseases. A bark decoction was also used as a daily skin wash. Occurs in along the coast in tropical areas of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Also occurs across Asia.
Cattle Bush , Northern Bluebell Trichodesma zeylanicum var zeylanicum Small herb to 1m. Hairy with striking blue flowers. The plant was boiled and rubbed on sores. The plant is reportedly diuretic. Occurs over subtropical and tropical arid regions of mainland Australia.
Supplejack , Vine-Tree Ventilago viminalis Small tree to 6m. The bark is pale to darker brown and scaly. Starts as a climber and as a result the mature tree often has intertwined branches. The leaves are bright green, the flowers are dull yellow. The bark and roots were crushed together in water to treat toothache and rheumatism. The ashes of the plant were mixed with Pituri chewing tobacco to enhance the effect. Native to subtropical and tropical semi-arid inland areas across mainland central and northern Australia. Full sun, drought tolerant.