Edible bush flowers- the colourful kapok

Kapok 7

I just posted about the wonderful Kapok tree (Cochlospermum fraserii) which is in flower now. When I heard it was edible I put it in a pretty basic salad on a fishing trip.

Since then I tried it in a very local salad using Snake beans grown in Humpty Doo (steamed and cooled), just hard boiled eggs from our chooks, chick peas, and very excitingly the first of this year’s tomatoes from Jenko’s spray free crop near Noonamah. I also added in some garden herbs and a yummy dressing of local lemon juice, garlic, Bees Creek honey, oil and sumac. Fresh Kapok flowers on top. You can de-petal or put them in whole.

Kapok and bean saladI also added them to a platter that had cheese, and my first batch of pickled Kakadu plums (Terminalia ferdinandiana) and some freshly made Grevillea tea. I think many more of our flowers that become edible fruit could also be added into salads and will research into this more.

pickles too


Beauty and the Bush

Grevillea and KpokAt every time of the year our Top End landscapes hold treasures for the senses.

At the moment there are some very common plants flowering prolifically and adding a splash of very different colours to the bush, also indicating the time in the year we are at (a mighty fine cool dry time) so can be called calendar plants

KApok 3 The Kapok (Cochlospermum fraseri) is a wonderful understory tree or small shrub in our woodland that looses its leaves and displays its bright yellow flowers right about now (the middle of the dry season) The flowers can also be eaten- so a wonderful addition to any salad or platter.

Calytrix sky Close Calytrix

The Turkey bush (Calytrix exstipulata) seems to be flowering more prolifically than ever in a bright bright pink, that catches the eye, contrasts against the sky and adds happiness to everyday out and about. It is found in drier, often gravelly woodland and disturbed areas.

Grevillea and pandanusGrevillea against skyThe Fern Leaved Grevillea (Grevillea pteridifolia)  is flowering so much you can smell its rich nectar as you drive along the highway. These plants a usually an indicated of wetter areas and grow on flood plains, swamp margins and low places in the land scape. These amazing orange centipede like flowers attract an array of birds but also can be harvested by humans, dropped into hot water and drunk as a malty sweet drink. Lemongrass stems and other yummy parts can be added in to make a really good seasonal tea.

All 3 flowersAlthough these three flowers and very common and sweeping across the woodland it is unusual to see them all together as they have different niches. I was pretty excited to see all three flowering on Finn Road, towards Berry Springs and managed to line them up all in one photo.

Euc miniata flowersAlso in flowering in the woodland is one of our most dominant and beautiful Eucalypts, the Wooly Butt (Eucalyptus miniata) recognised by its rough trunk, which stops as you look further up and exposes smooth grey trunk. Hard to find lower flowers to photograph, but obvious once you cast your eyes up. The flowers are favoured by smaller birds and insects and then the nuts that form attractive to larger birds like cockatoos. They signal that the sugar bag honey is ready for harvest (my Yolngul Yappa told me this) Last year these did not flower very well, but this year they are in full flower and will shortly be followed by the white flowered Stringy Bark (Eucalyptus tetradonta) whose buds are just opening.

Kurrajong 4 KurrajongStill common, but a little less easy to spot from a car window is the smaller tree/ large shrub-The Red flowered Kurrajong (Brachychiton paradoxum) This tree also looses its leaves and just bears these attractive red flowers with sturdy petals.