Tag Archives: edible

Giant Spear Lily ( Gymea Lily )

Doryanthes palmeri

“[The] Giant Spear Lily is a large, succulent herb which grows as a rosette. It’s hairless leaves are sword–shaped, and up to 3 m long and 20 cm wide” – Atlas of Living Australia

Gymea Lilies are spectacular, especially when they are in flower. The plant is on a colossal scale, sword shaped leaved up to 2m long radiate from a point in the ground. When flowering they grow a thick spear up to 4m long from the center of the leaves with large vivid red flowers perched at the top.

This one had me sratching my head a bit, Gymea lillies are native to the Sydney area and are a common plant in residential gardens. But this individual growing just outside the office has a very different arangement of flowers on the spear from other Gymea Lillies in the area. Instead of one neat cluster at the very top of the spear, the flowers were sprouting form the sides starting about 2/3 of the way up all the way to the top.

After a bit of research it looks like this one is a Doryanthes palmeri, a native of Queensland and far north NSW, not the local variety which is Doryanthes excelsa. I’ll do a follow up post on the local Gymea Lily.

Giant Spear Lily
Giant Spear Lily near my office. It's about 4m high, see my camera case at the base for scale
Flowers on Giant Spear Lily
Flowers growing from the spear on the Giant Spear Lily
Giant Spear Lily Flowers
Giant Spear Lily Flowers Detail


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Sweet Pittosporum

Pittosporum undulatum

“Originally a scattered inhabitant of shady, rainforest gullies, it is highly opportunistic and now aggressively colonises almost any moist, shady location..” – NPOS p.196

Like the Fishbone Fern the sweet Pittosporum is a native plant that is now often considered a weed in urban bushland. Although the Sweet Pittosporum is different in that it’s also naturally found in the Sydney area.

We have a few of these in the front and back yard. It’s a small tree, the leaves are vivid green, shiny and have wavy margins, which is where is scientific name undulatum comes from. It’s meant to have a strong sweet smell when in flower. I’ve had a blocked nose for the week though and have not noticed it. The seeds are edible and were ground for food by Aboriginies.

Sweet Pittosporum
Sweet Pittosporum in the back yard next to the washing line. It's doing well considering it's growing on top of a large rock outcrop.
Sweet Pittosporum Flowers
Sweet Pittosporum Flowers - check out the two small green bugs

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Pine-leaf Geebung

Persoonia pinifolia

“A spreading shrub 2-4m high, with crowded pine like leaves” NPOS p.103

The Pine-leaf Geebung is pretty easy to identify when in flower or fruit. The fruit is edible once it turns purpple, but whenever I’ve tried some they’ve been strongly astringent, not a good meal!

Don’t miss Banjo Paterson’s “The Geebung Polo Club”


Pine-leaf Geebung in fruit
Pine-leaf Geebung in fruit. You can suposedly eath the fruit once it has turned purple
Pine-leaf Geebung fruit
Pine-leaf Geebung fruit


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