The more than 1.5 million square miles of Western Australia are home to both a diversity of terrains and about 7,500 native plants. Western Australia has coastal, forest and mountain regions suitable for a wide range of plant life, including many species of trees, shrubs and tuberous plants suitable for eating.
For centuries, these plants have provided bush food, or "tucker," and medicine for both native Australians and outback settlers.
The Australian baobab, or bottle, tree, is hard to miss. Its oddly disproportionate trunk can be as much as 10 feet around. The pith and seeds of its oval fruits are edible both raw and roasted, and its roots and leaves are traditional remedies for digestive problems.
Identify the native almond tree of western Australia by its feathery clusters of silver green leaves. The tree's fruit is edible.
The Pindan walnut tree grows to about 15 feet. Simply gather its dropped nuts and crush their shells between a pair of stones to get the nutmeats.
The green fruit of the 30-foot wild mango or green plum tree ripens in mid-winter and can be eaten raw.
Marjda, or bloodroot, is a perennial herb that can grow up to 3 feet tall. It bears purple-black flowers and gets its name from its deep red edible roots. The roots can be roasted or ground to use as flavoring in other dishes.
Western Australia's native sweet potato, or desert yam, is a perennial climbing shrub growing from a large edible tuber. Its funnel-shaped mauve flowers and round leaves make it a beautiful as well a nutritious plant.
Find bush onions growing on sand dunes after the wet season. Their small tubers are delicious when lightly roasted, but peel away the first layer of skin before eating them.
Whitewood has a large edible tuber that tastes better when the plant is young. Roast the tubers; mashing older ones is advisable.
Akudjura, known both as the bush tomato and bush raisin, grows in the arid areas of western Australia. It's a shrub with fuzzy silver-green leaves bearing small purple fruits that resemble raisins when dried in the sun. The ripe fruit tastes similar to tomatoes, becoming sweeter as it dries.
The kangaroo apple grows on shrubs of up to 6 feet in height, with dark leaves, mauve flowers and purple stems. The fruit itself is a small orange berry. While it's edible, it's not particularly tasty.