Macrozamia and Lepidozamia
Cycads / Burrawangs
Other names: Zamia palms, wild pineapples
Family: Zamiaceae (One of 3 families of cycads)
Habitat: Woodland on sandy soils
Uses: Seeds edible after complicated processing, very poisonous raw
References: Low, Robinson
WARNING: These seeds are highly toxic unless prepared properly.
The seeds of cycads are large and full of starch, and were a staple food of Aboriginies.
The seeds need to be processed by slicing, soaking, and pounding to remove toxins. People have died from eating them unprepared. Some people, such as Les Hiddens (The "Bush Tucker Man") say that the processing does not remove all the toxins and they should not be eaten at all.
Tim Low says that the seeds were cracked or crushed (sometimes after being pre-cooked), then soaked in water for days or weeks, then ground to a paste, and cooked again before eating. Different tribes used different methods. Seeding could be triggered by firing (setting fire to) the plants. Doing this with the correct timing resulted in huge crops that could sustain social gatherings of hundreds of people for many weeks.
Photo: Lepidozamia peroffskyana, Burrawang, Mt Annan Botanical Gardens NSW. Higher resolution (2000 x 2506).
Photo: Lepidozamia peroffskyana, Burrawang, Mt Annan Botanical Gardens NSW. Higher resolution (3008 x 2000).
Photo by AYArktos: Macrozamia communis, Burrawang, Batemans Bay NSW. Higher resolution 2048 x 1536).
Photo by AYArktos: Macrozamia communis, Burrawang, Batemans Bay NSW.
Bush Tucker Plant Foods - Seeds
Bush Tucker Plant Foods Index
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