Wild foods & medicines

You’ll often here the phrase ‘a weed is just a plant that is where we don’t want it’. That may be true, but if we don’t understand the plants and their uses, how can we be sure that we don’t want them?

Many of our Australian weeds originally arrived here, by various means, from the Europe and Asia, where they have a long tradition of being used medicinally as herbs. That’s a good thing because it means that we can easily find detailed information on them.

Many weeds are also visual indicators of what is going on in the soil around them. They can indicate the richness and moisture of the soil and sometimes, what it is lacking. For the medicinal use, please refer to our ‘Herbs in the Garden‘ page where you can find the remedial uses of some of our more common plants. This page is for non-native plants. ‘Bushfoods & Bush Medicines‘ covers a lot of the useful, local Native plants.

Flowering times are approximate. Plants don’t take a lot of notice of calendars and the changes in our climate are mixing things up a bit. The times we’ve given are from our own local experience and we are even seeing some plants flower earlier and for longer as global heating kicks in.

I’ve included the taxonomic names for clarity and the Family so that you can follow up and see which other amazing plants are related to each of the plants listed below.

We’re always learning about our by botanic community, taking new pics and meeting folks who know a lot more than we do, so keep checking your favourite plants in these pages. There’s always more to come!

African Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum)

African Boxthorn

(Lycium ferocissimum)

Blackberry (Rubus species)

Blackberry

(Rubus species)

Blackberry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

Blackberry Nightshade

(Solanum nigrum)

Caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)

Caltrop

(Tribulus terrestris)

Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis)

Castor Oil Plant

(Ricinus communis)

Catsear (Hypochaeris radicata)

Catsear

(Hypochaeris radicata)

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Chickweed

(Stellaria media)

Cleavers (Gallium aparine)

Cleavers

(Gallium aparine)

Common Peppercress (Lepidium africanum)

Common Peppercress

(Lepidium africanum)

Creeping Woodsorrel  (Oxalis corniculata)

Creeping Woodsorrel

(Oxalis corniculata)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelion

(Taraxacum officinale)

Dock (Rumex species)

Dock

(Rumex species)

Dog Rose (Rosa canina)

Dog Rose

(Rosa canina)

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel

(Foeniculum vulgare)

Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis)

Fumitory

(Fumaria officinalis)

Goosefoot (Chenopodium album)

Goosefoot

(Chenopodium album)

Green Amaranth (Amaranthus viridis)

Green Amaranth

(Amaranthus viridis)

Hoarhound (Marrubium vulgare)

Hoarhound

(Marrubium vulgare)

Ice Plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum)

Ice Plant

(Mesembryanthemum crystallinum)

Mallow (Malva species)

Mallow

(Malva species)

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Milk Thistle

(Silybum marianum)

Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla)

Moreton Bay Figs

(Ficus macrophylla)

Nasturtiums (Trapeolum majus)

Nasturtiums

(Trapeolum majus)

Nettles (Urtica dioica)

Nettles

(Urtica dioica)

Petty Spurge (Euphorbia peplus)

Petty Spurge

(Euphorbia peplus)

Pine (Pinus species)

Pine

(Pinus species)

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Plantain

(Plantago lanceolata)

Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

Prickly Lettuce

(Lactuca serriola)

Prickly Pear (Opuntia species)

Prickly Pear

(Opuntia species)

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane

(Portulaca oleracea)

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s Wort

(Hypericum perforatum)

Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Shepherd’s Purse

(Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Soursobs (Oxalis pes-capre)

Soursobs

(Oxalis pes-capre)

Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)

Sow Thistle

(Sonchus oleraceus)

Sundews (Drosera species)

Sundews

(Drosera species)

Three Cornered Garlic (Allium triquetrum)

Three Cornered Garlic

(Allium triquetrum)

Wild Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus)

Wild Artichoke

(Cynara cardunculus)

Wild Oats (Avena sativa)

Wild Oats

(Avena sativa)

Wireweed (Polygonum aviculare)

Wireweed

(Polygonum aviculare)


Many plants have uses we wouldn’t normally think of. We use quite a few that you may be interested in. You can find them on the following pages –

Herbs in the Garden

Other Useful Plants

Bush Foods & Bush Medicines

Note: It can be illegal to harvest from the wild without the appropriate permit or licence. This is especially true of seaweed. Different councils, however, have different rules and regulations on the matter, so check with them before you go out.

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