Bush Tucker Plants

Course CodeBHT328
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn About Different Australian Plants As Edibles

  • Explore different bush tuckers plants
  • Learn to cultivate, harvest and use them
  • Learn to identify them (are they edible or poisonous)
  • Discover ways to use them in food, as flavours or in drinks.

Become familiar with the most effective ways to prepare bush food, as well as foods that can be grown to provide new food items and menu items.



Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Scope
    • Is it Edible
    • Native Plants to be Cautious with
    • Understanding Plant Toxins
    • Nutritional Value of Bush tucker
    • Plant Identification
    • Naming Plants
    • Hybrids, Varieties and Cultivars
    • Plant Families
    • Pronouncing Plant Names
    • Resources
  2. Growing
    • Understanding Soil
    • Improving Soil
    • Feeding Plants
    • Growing Australian Plants on Low Fertility Soils
    • Planting Procedure
    • Mulching
    • Pruning Australian Plants
    • Propagation
    • Seed
    • Collecting, Storing, Germinating Seed
    • Difficult Seeds
    • Seed Germination Techniques
    • Handling and raising seedlings
    • Asexual Propagation (Cuttings, Division, etc)
  3. Gathering
    • Introduction
    • Ethics
    • Bush Foods as A Commercial Venture
    • Gathering Acacia Seed
    • Developing a Bush Food Garden
    • Designing a Bush Garden
    • Selected Native Trees for a Bush Tucker Garden
    • Selected Shrubs for a Bush Tucker Garden
    • Selected Small Indigenous Australian Plants for a Bush Tucker Garden
    • Rainforest Gardens
    • Desert Gardens
    • Edible Arid Zone Bush Tucker plants
    • Water Management
  4. Nuts and Seeds
    • Macadamia
    • Araucaria
    • Aleurites moluccana
    • Athertonia diversifolia (Atherton Oak)
    • Castanospermum australe
    • Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia
    • Acacias
    • Using Acacias (eg. Wattleseed Essense)
  5. Vegetables
    • Native Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides)
    • Pigface (Carpobrotus sp.)
    • Longleaf Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia)
    • Solanums (Bush Tomatoes or Kangaroo Apple)
    • Blechnum indicum
    • Apium prostratum (Sea Celery)
    • Native Lilies
    • Microseris lanceolata (Yam Daisy)
    • Dioscorea transversa (Wild Yams)
    • Native ginger Alpinia caerulear
    • Seaweeds
  6. Fruits
    • Astroloma
    • Austromyrtus dulcis (Midgen Berry)
    • Billardiera sp (eg. Appleberry)
    • Davidsonia purescens (Davidson’s Plum)
    • Eugenia spp. and Syzygium spp. (eg. Bush Cherries)
    • Ficus (Native Figs)
    • Planchonella australis (Black Apple)
    • Quandong (Santalum)
    • Rubus sp (Native Raspberry)
    • Other Fruits, lots more outlined
  7. Flavourings, Teas, Essences
    • Backhousia
    • Curcuma (related to ginger)
    • Eucalyptus
    • Leptospermum
    • Soaked Flowers (eg. Grevillea)
    • Acacia
    • Alpinia caerulea
    • Tasmannia sp
  8. Using Bush Tucker Plants
    • Develop your ability to identify, select, and develop processing procedures, for a range of varieties of bush food plants selected.


  • Discuss the nature and scope of bush tucker plants.
  • Review the way bush tucker plants are accurately identified.
  • Describe how to cultivate a range of bush tucker plants.
  • Describe how bush foods are harvested from the wild and how to set up a cultivated bush food garden.
  • Outline the cultivation, harvest and use of various bush tucker nuts and seeds.
  • Explain the cultivation, harvest and use of various bush tucker vegetables
  • Explain the cultivation, harvest and use of various bush tucker fruits
  • Explain the cultivation, harvest and use of various bush tucker plants that are used to flavour foods or beverages
  • Describe the preparation of bush tucker.

Farming Bush Tucker Plants

Farming of bush tucker species offers many benefits, it reduces risk of failed and or poor quality produce that can be associated with wild harvests. It cuts back the labour intensive high cost of wild collection and is not dependent on the unreliability of wild plant production. With restrictions to the access of wild sources in the near future (through government intervention), access will be limited. It is currently estimated that about 80% of bush food is wild collected. This figure will be greatly reduced over the coming decade; almost all bush-food will be produced on commercial farms in the near future.

The potential for Australian Bush Food Plants both within and outside Australia seems assured.

Acacias for Food

Various parts of a wattle may be edible.
It all depends upon the species, the part of the plant being eaten, and how it is prepared, for instance:

  • Seeds from many wattles species is edible, but some can be toxic and only around 10% are appetizing to eat.
  • The gum that oozes from wounds in the wood of acacias can also be edible but while some are known to be sweet and are prized as a food - many are simply not tried and proven as a food source and it may be dangerous to try them
  • The flowers of some wattles are also known to be appetizing and edible (but again, not all)
  • Even the pods of a few wattle species have been used as a human food source

WARNING: Do not attempt to eat anything that you have not positively identified as a safe food source.

Edible Flowers: Acacia floribunda, decurrens

Wattle seeds have been harvested and eaten by aboriginal people in Australia.
Around 10% of Acacias (i.e. approximately 50 species) are known to produce edible seeds. Of these three have been more widely eaten than others. Some species are known to be toxic and many are simply not palatable. The three most common species are:

  • Mulga (Acacia aneura)
  • Gundabluey (Acacia victoriae)
  • Witjuti (ie. Witchetty) (Acacia kempeana)

Wattles are easy to grow but collecting and preparing seed to eat can be time consuming.

How Seeds are Eaten
Seed is roasted and ground to create a paste The paste traditionally has been made into small cakes and baked.
Seeds can also be boiled to extract the flavour and create an 'essence' that can then be used for flavouring foods (e.g. Ice cream) or as a beverage (i.e. wattle seed coffee).

Harvest and Processing
Pods need to first be picked, dried (usually in the sun), and have seeds extracted.
The seeds then need to be cleaned (you only want clean seed –remove any dirt, pods, twigs etc.)
The clean seed then should be cooked (either steamed or roasted).
Cooked seed may be stored for a period and packets of roasted seeds may be found for sale commercially at times.
The cooked seeds are commonly ground into a paste - adding a small quantity of water as it is being ground. The paste can then be frozen for later use.
The flavour can be intense so often only a small quantity of paste is needed to flavour something.

Making Wattle-seed Essence
2 to 3 tablespoons of ground wattle-seed can be added to 1 cup of water and brought to the boil for 6 minutes. Strain and allow to cool. This essence can be kept in a refrigerator for 2 weeks or longer in the freezer.
The essence can then be used as a base for flavouring various foods or beverages.
For example: 1 part wattle-seed essence to 3 or 4 parts water, with sugar (to taste) produces a wattle-seed coffee.


Extra Books or Reference Materials

  • The course provides you with everything that you need to complete it successfully.
  • Assignments may ask you to look for extra information (e.g. by contacting nurseries, visiting gardens or searching the internet), but our school's resources and tutors are always available as a back up. If you hit a 'roadblock', we can quickly send you additional information or provide expert advice over the phone or email to keep you moving in your studies.
  • Some students choose to buy additional references to take their learning beyond what is essential for the course. If a student wants to buy books, we operate an online bookshop offering ebooks written by staff at the school. Student discounts are available if you are studying with us. The range of e books available is being expanded rapidly, with at least one new ebook being written and published by our staff every month. See www.acsebook.com


This is a course that may be equally valuable and relevant to:

  • Nurseryman
  • Naturalist
  • Cook
  • Restaurateur
  • Food Enthusiast
  • Gardeners
  • Landscapers




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