Coastal Bearded Heath, Native Currant (Leucopogon parviflorus)
Common names: Coast Bearded Heath, Coastal Bearded Heath
Taxonomic name: Leucopogon parviflorus
Habitat: Coastal heath and dunes
Form: Shrub to small tree
Flowering Time: Most of the year
Ngarrindjeri name: Ngoor-le, Kalathami
Coast Bearded Heath (Leucopogon parviflorus) is one of my favourite bushfoods. It is also called ‘Native Currant’. The ‘Bearded’ part of the name comes from the flowers, which look quite hairy close up. Plants can flower year round but most of the fruit comes from those in November.
The bush grows to to between 1.5 and 5 metres high (never seen one that tall though) and can be distinguished, when not flowering, by thick leaves that have a curved tip. and are lighter underneath than on top.
Flowers of Coast Bearded Heath are white and have 5 petals. They are in groups along stalks at the end of the branches.
During their long summer fruiting period, after August, Coast Bearded Heath bushes produce prodigious amounts of small, white, berries that have a taste reminiscent of apples. Picking these little berries can be time consuming, but we’ll worth the effort. It’s quite an addictive in fact! A slight downside to the fruit is a hard stone. Don’t bite too hard!
There is another bush plant called ‘Native Currant‘ down this way. It’s a totally different plant, Acrotriche depressa, and I’ll be writing a post on it before long.