Plant of the Month Hot Stuff

Plant of the Month: Looking for some hot stuff…

Flora, Plant of the Month, The Scoop

If you’re a late Boomer or early Gen Xer you’ve probably now got this earworm going (Millenials and Gen Y or Z should watch as well to see what cool music really is), this month we’re looking at some native herbs and spices (some of which have been used in our current program of Bush Food Workshops)

Pepper Berry/Dorrigo Pepper Tasmannia lanceolata, Tasmannia stipitata, Tasmannia insipida have all been used as a pepper substitute, both dried and crushed leaves and seeds, starting with a pleasant nutty taste then slowly building to a very hot taste, the three species listed above have been recorded as being used for flavouring however there are three more species in the Genus which may be usable (I’ve nibbled on a couple and they’re spicy). Within the Hunter we have T insipida, T. stipitata,  T. glaucifolia and T. purpurascens, the latter 3 from Barrington Tops northward and the last two listed as threatened species.

Native Thyme/Cut Leaf Mint Bush Prostanthera incisa, a shrub 0.5-3m high found in wet sclerophyll forests and rainforest margins is used as a flavouring in cooking meats.

Cinnamon Myrtle Backhousia myrtifolia Rainforest shrub or tree found in the Hunter and along the New South Wales coast in rainforest and riparian areas, looking very similar to Acmena smithii though with soft, hairy new leaves, with a subtle cinnamon/nutmeg scent.

Aniseed Myrtle Anetholea anisata, naturally restricted to the Bellingen – Nambucca area, it is a medium to large rainforest tree with a distinct aniseed smell with the leaves used in cooking.While getting to 45 metres in it’s natural habitat it can be pruned as a hedge (with clippings used in cooking).