Milkmaids (Burchardia umbellata)

Common names: Milkmaids

Taxonomic name: Burchardia umbellata

Family: Colchicaceae

Habitat: Woodlands and heath

Form: Flowering herb

Flowering Time: Late Winter to early Spring

Ngarrindjeri name: Popoto

Description and uses:

Beautiful Milkmaids (Burchardia umbellata) are in bloom in the hills near Gawler. They’re a beautiful little flower, similar to Early Nancy (Wurmbea dioica), but later in the season.

Like Early Nancy, Milkmaids have edible tubers and roots. They’re starchy and crisp, but not that tasty. I prefer to appreciate the beauty of the flowers rather than destroy the plant to nibble on their tubers.

Look for a cluster of white/pink , 6 petaled flowers sitting atop a thin stalk in the same woodland that you would find Early Nancy in. Milkmaids don’t have the purple band on their petals.

Be careful of other native lilies and orchids out at the same time that you may confuse with Milkmaids. They won’t hurt you and could be quite edible, but you could be eating endangered species and that’s not good.