Traditional uses of Australian native plants
A bibliography of bush-foods and Aboriginal uses, prepared by the staff at the Australian National Botanic Gardens Library.
Last updated: November 2011
Bindon, Peter 1996, Useful bush plants. Western Australian Museum, Perth. 286 pp.
On plants from Western Australia.
Bonney, Neville 2006, Adnyamathanha and beyond: useful plants of an ancient land. Australian Plants Society, South Australian Region, Unley, S.A. 99 pp.
Indigenous plant use in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia.
Bonney, Neville 2010, Knowing, growing, eating … edible wild native plants for southern Australia. N. Bonney, Tantanoola, S.A. 103 pp.
An illustrated guide with descriptions of the plants and where they occur, information on cultivation and some recipes.
Brand Miller, Janette, James, Keith W & Maggiore, Patricia MA 1993, Tables of composition of Australian Aboriginal foods. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra. 256 pp.
Data for nutritional content, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Cherikoff, Vic & Isaacs, Jennifer 1991, The bush food handbook: how to gather, grow, process & cook Australian wild foods. Ti Tree Press, Balmain, N.S.W. 208 pp.
Also reprinted in 2000 by Cherikoff Pty Ltd., Boronia Park, NSW.
Clarke, Philip A 2007, Aboriginal people and their plants, Rosenberg, Dural, NSW. 191 pp.
An overview of indigenous relationships to plants in Aboriginal Australia. Chapters 6 and 7 cover collecting and processing plants for food.
Cribb, A.B. & Cribb, J.W. 1987, Wild food in Australia, 2 nd ed. Fontana/Collins, Sydney. 284 pp.
A guide to the edible plants of Australia with notes on distribution, identification and preparation for consumption.
Everard, Pompey et al. 2002, Punu: Yankunytjatjara plant use: traditional methods of preparing foods, medicines, utensils and weapons from native plants, 3 rd ed. IAD Press, Alice Springs, N.T. 216 pp.
Elders of the Mimili community in the Everard Ranges of Central Australia present the plants growing on their country and tell how they have been used.
Flood, Josephine 1996, Moth hunters of the Australian Capital Territory: Aboriginal traditional life in the Canberra region, JM Flood, Downer, ACT. 43 pp.
Green, Jenny (comp.) 2003, Anmatyerr ayey arnang-akert: Anmatyerr plant stories by the women from Laramba (Napperby) community. IAD Press, Alice Springs, N.T. 104 pp.
Indigenous plant use in the Laramba community, 200 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
Hardwick, RJ 2001, Nature’s larder: a field guide to the native food plants of the NSW south coast. Homosapien Books, Jerrabomberra, NSW. 136 pp.
Food plants are grouped together according to habitat. Includes colour photographs and notes on uses.
Hegarty, MP, Hegarty, EE & Wills, RBH 2001, Food safety of Australian plant bushfoods, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Kingston, ACT. 76 pp.
Also available via the Internet at: https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/downloads/01-028.pdf
Hiddins, Les 1999, Explore Australia with the bush tucker man. Viking, Ringwood, Vic. 244 pp.
Travel guide to five regions in northern Australia with information on the local bush food.
Hiddins, Les 2001, Bush tucker field guide, Penguin Books, Ringwood, Vic. 184 pp.
Pocket-sized guide to 170 bush food and medicines. Includes some exotic species.
Isaacs, Jennifer 1987, Bush food: Aboriginal food and herbal medicine. Weldons, McMahons Point, N.S.W. 256 pp.
Has an emphasis on central and northern Australia.
Isaacs, Jennifer 1996, A companion guide to bush food. Lansdowne, Sydney. 158 pp.
Pocket-size guide to accompany the 1987 publication ‘Bush food’.
Kenneally, Kevin F, Edinger, Daphne Choules & Willing, Tim 1996, Broome and beyond: plants and people of the Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley, Western Australia. Dept of Conservation and Land Management, Como, WA. 256 pp.
Chapter 3 is titled ‘Aboriginal plant use’.
Latz, Peter 1995, Bushfires & bushtucker: Aboriginal plant use in Central Australia. IAD Press, Alice Springs, N.T. 400 pp.
Latz, Peter 1999, Pocket bushtucker: a field guide to the plants of Central Australia and their traditional uses. IAD Press, Alice Springs, N.T. 215 pp.
Low, Tim 1989, Bush tucker: Australia’s wild food harvest. Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, NSW. 233 pp.
Focusses on plant foods, local and some exotic.
Low, Tim 1991, Wild food plants of Australia, Rev. ed. Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, N.S.W. 240 pp.
Low, Tim 1991, Wild herbs of Australia and New Zealand, Rev. ed. Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, NSW. 160 pp.
Maiden, J.H. 1975, The useful native plants of Australia, including Tasmania, facsim. ed. Compendium, Melbourne. 696 pp.
Originally published: Sydney: Technological Museum of NSW, 1889.
Uses made by Aborigines and early settlers are described.
The New crop industries handbook: native foods. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra. 47 pp.
Reports on bush tomato, lemon myrtle, native citrus, native pepper, quandong and Davidson plum.
Also available via the Internet at: https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/08-021
Plomley, Brian & Cameron, Mary 1993, Plant foods of the Tasmanian Aborigines. Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston, Tas. (Records of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, 101) 27 pp.
Booklet describing plant foods, based on historic literature.
Roberts, John, Fisher, Colin & Gibson, Roy 1995, A guide to traditional Aboriginal rainforest plant use by the Kuku Yalanji of the Mossman Gorge. Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku, Mossman, Qld. 36 pp.
Booklet describing Aboriginal plant use in the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland.
Smith, Keith & Smith, Irene 1999, Grow your own bushfoods. New Holland, Frenchs Forest, N.S.W. 139 pp.
A practical guide to growing and harvesting more than 140 kinds of Australian bushfoods.
Stewart, Kathy & Percival, Bob 1997, Bush foods of New South Wales: a botanic record and an Aboriginal oral history, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. 52 pp.
Describes 30 of the most common bush food plants of NSW. Also available via the Internet at: http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/85542/Bushfoodsbook.pdf
Symons, Pat & Symons, Sim 1994, Bush heritage: an introduction to the history of plant and animal use by Aboriginal people and colonists in the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast areas. Pat and Sim Symons, Nambour, Qld. 106 pp.
Wangggalili Aboriginal Corporation 2003, Wanggalili: Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma plants, Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation, Roebourne, WA. 128 pp.
Aboriginal use of plants for food and medicine in the Pilbara region of north Western Australia.
Watsford, Penny 2010, Forest bountiful: settlers’ use of Australian plants. Nullum Publications, Murwillumbah,NSW. ISBN 9780975682333 130 pp.
Non-indigenous use of plants (excluding for timber), in the Tweed Valley and surrounding areas of northern NSW and southeast Queensland from the 1840s to 1950s.
Williams, Alice & Sides, Tim 2008, Wiradjuri plant use in the Murrumbidgee catchment. Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority, Wagga Wagga. 106 pp.
This book was developed in consultation with local Aboriginal communities.
Wreck Bay Community & Renwick, Cath 2000, Geebungs and snake whistles: Koori people and plants of Wreck Bay. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra. 57 pp.
Uses of native and some exotic plants by people of the Wreck Bay community at Jervis Bay on the south coast of New South Wales.
Zola, Nelly & Gott, Beth 1992, Koorie plants, Koorie people: traditional Aboriginal food, fibre and healing plants of Victoria. Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne. 71 pp.
Authoritative guide with colour photographs.
SERIES & NEWSLETTERS
ANFIL information bulletin, no. 1, 2006-
Australian Native Food Industry Ltd
Australian bushfoods magazine, issue 1, 1987 - issue 18, 2003.
Covers industry development issues, along with technical and market information and general native food news and views.
Australian Food Plants Study Group newsletter, ISSN 0811-5362, no. 1, 1983-
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants, Frenchville, Qld
Documents reports from members on cultivation, propagation and natural occurrences of Australian edible plants.
Northern Territory botanical bulletin, ISSN 0314-1810, no. 1, 1976-
Currently produced by the N.T. Dept. of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport.
Each issue has a distinctive theme. Issues 6,10, 11, 14-16, 18, 21-26, 29-30, 32-36 focus on ethnobotany or ethnobiology of different areas of the Northern Territory and have been prepared in collaboration with the indigenous communities.
Southern Bushfood Network newsletter, no. 1,1996 - no. 34, 2005
The Southern Bushfood Association produced newsletters dedicated to the Australian native food industry in southern Australia. The organization ceased in 2007.
Aboriginal bush foods
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
Bush foods of the Cadigal, Darug and Dharawal people of Sydney and Blue Mountains region, NSW.
Australian Bushfood and Native Medicine Forum
“Discuss bushfoods (bushtucker), Aussie spices, native medicine, and more.”
Australian Native Food Industry Ltd
ANFIL is the peak national body which represents all interests in the Australian native food industry.
Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
The RIRDC Native foods sub-program publishes reports on the native food industry and research on various plants and plant products.