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Bush Banana

Leichhardtia australis

Leichhardtia australis
• Bush Banana
• Classification
• Common name
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Bush Banana • Leichhardtia australis
The bush banana is a climbing woody vine found growing on other shrubs and trees, and often difficult to see among the trees own leaves. The bush banana has creamy flowers, and thick narrow leaves that grow from a short stalk. The fruiting pod is pear-shaped, hence its other common names.

An important Aboriginal food, the sweet flower and young fruits are eaten raw, being the most favoured parts of the plant. The seeds are also lightly roasted for consumption. When the pods matures, it consists mainly of bitter seeds and their plumes. The seeds are discarded and only the thick outer rind eaten. The shoots and young leaves are also eaten, whilst the older leaves are eaten after being steamed. Even the roots are eaten during times of food shortage. The only parts not eaten are the woody stems and fine roots.
 

The Bush Banana is a totemic plant that often features in Aboriginal mythology and can be found in many Aboriginal paintings.

The plant was originally named ‘Marsdenia australia’. ‘Marsdenia’, after William Marsden, 1754-1836, the Irish orientalist and numismatist.; ‘australis’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘southern’.

Extreme care must be taken when identifying edible food plants and those used in bush medicine. Some bush foods are only edible at different stages of the plant cycle, or when treated appropriately. Bush medicine should only be used under the guidance of a qualified physician. Information here is only provided for research. You should always seek experts in the field to confirm the identification of the plant and whether they are edible or appropriate.

Common name Where Found
Bush banana, Doubah, Native pear, Silky pear Found throughout Central Australia.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Leichhardtia
Species: L. australis
Binomial name: Leichhardtia australis
Bush Banana • Images
Bush banana (Leichhardtia australis formerly classified as Marsdenia australis)
Bush Banana (Marsdenia australis) ฉ Greg Sully, August 2007

Bush Banana (Marsdenia australis) ฉ Greg Sully, August 2007

Bush Banana (Marsdenia australis) ฉ Greg Sully, August 2007

Bush Banana • Other links

Iconography and Symbols - Aboriginal Tourism - Indigenous Australia
• Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for many thousands of years. One of the secrets to their success was their knowledge of nature and ‘bush food’ (‘bush tucker’). Information on the bush banana.
 

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