Habitat: Mallee, coastal
Description and uses:
Caprobrotus rossii is one of the sprawling, local native succulents called ‘Pigface’.
This is the one that, in summer, bears succulent fruit from where the pink or purple flowers were between April and October.
These fruit are a popular bushfood, as, when squeezed out (you don’t eat the skin), they have the texture of a fig, and the taste of strawberry! They are wonderful dipped in chocolate and eaten with ice cream. The fruits get pinker as they age. The pinker the better. The insides of a nearly dry fruit are very tasty too, but in a way that’s different from the ripe fruit.
Since risking chewing on one of the dry fruit a couple of years back, I’ve been addicted to the gooey, salty black mess inside. I’ve shared it with a couple of Ngarrindjeri Elders who can’t remember Pigface being eaten that way.
Our friend Gayle liked the taste too and experimented with it in her cafe, Poetic Justice Cafe in Gawler, remarking that it tasted kind of like Vegemite ( I would laughingly call it ‘malcolmite’). We experimented with different combinations and presented it to the South Australian Native Food Association at their outing to the Ukaria Cultural Centre on the 18th of March, 2018.
The juice from the fresh leaves can be used in much the same way as Aloe vera, for sunburn (before or after the sun has done its thing), bites and stings. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked usually roasted and squeezing their juice straight into your mouth is a tasty treat when foraging or walking.
Pigface flowers are a beautiful purple with a yellow centre and are very abundant.