Small family groups subsisting on their local yanjet grounds may have systematically harvested Typha over a period of months. Drummond describes the large annual gatherings involving Noongar feasting on Typha rhizomes at a farm in what is now Belmont. ‘The lagoons are much filled with the cat’s-tail reed (, ‘Got from the natives a piece of bread made of the root of the flag which they calledÂ, ‘The cat’s tail, or reed mace, – the plant described by Mr Moore as a sort of flag or sedge,- grows in abundance in the bed of the stream. Two are native - narrow leaf cumbungi (Typha domingensis) and broadleaf cumbungi (Typha orientalis). I must examine. Typha rhizomes were a favoured starch seasonal staple in many parts of Australia and the shoots were also eaten raw in parts of southeastern Australia. Also autumn, especially April, was a time of plenty when protein and fat rich foods such as fish, frogs, turtles, jilgies and by-yu (Macrozamia sarcotesta) were consumed.  This time of year was the start of djeran – a preparatory time for building up body condition and subcutaneous fat in readiness for the long cold wet lean season. Also known as bush lime, wild lime and native cumquat. Bulrush Horticulture Ltd. Newferry Road. The Department of Environment, Waters and Rivers and WA  Florabase all endorse this view. We would suggest that by the time James Backhouse observed the lagoons ‘much-filled with cats-tail reed’ in 1837 the indigenous practice of burning and managing Typha beds in the Perth area had ceased owing to the colonial usurpation of their traditional hunting and gathering grounds which had resulted in a massive disruption to their traditional livelihood, forcing them to depend on white society for much of their subsistence. Oldfield (1865) describes a more likely and immediate scenario (with reference to the Watchandi people living at the mouth of the Murchison River) for satiating hunger whereby the starchy Typha roots are first roasted and then pounded until it ‘assumes the form of a coherent cake’ or manageable mouthful and is then consumed without further cooking. What interests us is that in 1836 Drummond announces that he has located Typha in a freshwater stream in the Toodyay Valley. 4/07/2019 10:40 AM, Detailed management and control guidelines for cumbungi can be found in the Cumbungi Control Guide. Further, it cooks the raw starch making it more readily digestible and diminishing any toxic and/or bitter compounds. They are naturally found in shallow depressions where water collects at different times of the year. Was the piece of bread that Moore tasted made from Typha rhizome flour or was it the flour itself that tasted like oatmeal? He further refers to the taste of Typha when made into a cake: ‘…when kneaded and made into a cake, tastes like flour not separated from the bran.’. 3 notes Jul 21st, … Aquascapes Unlimited’s seed sown local ecotype species add natural wildlife benefits, promote biodiversity, and oftentimes require less maintenance in terms of fertilizers and pesticides. Native Australian Plants. Posts; Archive ... AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BULRUSH PLANT NATURE ABORIGINAL. Prepared by Ken Macintyre and Barb Dobson We have no doubt that Typha is one of the most ancient forms of carbohydrates utilised by humans. 1.3K likes. Bullrush is found in other parts of the world being also native to Eastern Asia from Japan and China southwards to Australia. According to George Fletcher Moore’s (1834) diary entries, harvesting of this root occurred in late March and early April: ‘They are now busy digging the root of a broad sort of flag, which grows in a swamp near this. Was it too common around the swamps, lakes and rivers of Perth to be considered worthy of his attention? ‘We can find no evidence of why Typha orientalis became, or is currently considered introduced to Western Australia’ (Keighery and McCabe 2015:  34). Drummond’s advice on survival lacks any description on how this valuable life-saving starch was extracted and made edible. Drummond (1842) seems adamant that the timing of Typha harvesting was critical in order to obtain the optimal starch content in the rhizome. A native plant, producing bold cylindrical dark green stems stiff needle-like leaves that arise from a creeping rootstock. Gott (1999) emphasises caution in interpreting these results as Brand Miller et al’s (1993) analysis is based only on one raw Typha rhizome.  The nutritional content may vary depending on region, soil, climatic factors, previous firing regimes and time of year when collected.  Another factor that should be taken into account is agricultural fertiliser run-off which can affect the chemical composition of Typha for it is a heavy nutrient feeder and functions as an effective wetland filter. However, many botanists and weed specialists argue that T. orientalis is an “introduced” species. An iconic Australian native plant, kangaroo paws add texture and sculptural interest to a native Australian garden. The best season for eating this root is in the months of April and May, when they are found in places where water stood in the winter, but which are now dry. Research anthropologists. Nyanyi-Yandjip (literally ‘pubic hairs’) was the tribal name for this area, an allusion both to the reeds surrounding the Lake and to the Waugal’s hairy mane (Yandjip is the Nyungar term for the reed Typha angustifolia).’ Â. In April and May the shoots produce a yellow pollen which was shaken and … Moore (1842: 112) records yanji (above yanjidi in his wordlist)  as ‘a tuft of emu feathers;’ Buller Murphy (n.d.) lists yangee as ‘feather.’ The feathery likeness of Typha seed-down (pictured above) may be compared to tufts of emu feathers.  Ritual decorations made from bird feathers, especially emu, were important for ceremonial activities. Harvest Seeds & Native Plants 281 Mona Vale Road, TERREY HILLS, NSW, 2084. ‘They peel the root, roast and pound it, and bake it. Reserving the pith, which contains a large quantity of starch; they generally cut the roots into convenient lengths, and roast them in the ashes, and chew the whole, spitting out the fibry parts; but sometimes they split up the roots, collect the starch in their cloaks, and bake it into cakes. This brings us to the question, if the ethnohistorical evidence suggests that both species are native to Western Australia, why demonise one?  Is the reason because Typha orientalis has become a pest and an uncontrollable coloniser of our waterways with no known natural enemy to constrain it? We think so. They strip off the outer covering of the long creeping roots. We have restrictions on sending some native plants due to state Biosecurity laws. For a modern gourmet twist, have it in a pie made … To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website. Different names for a particular plant, animal or bird were often assigned to different “species’ by early recorders, especially Grey (1840), Moore (1842) and Drummond (1842) as if assuming (wrongly!) In a later publication he records the Noongar name for Typha as yandyait, the same name recorded by Moore in one of his early publications. It is tasteless to me, being fibrous and farinaceous.’ (Moore 29, ‘They peel the root, roast and pound it, and bake it. Maiden (1917) cites Mitchell’s comments as follows: ‘Balyan ” (Typha angustifolia ?) Australian natives are among the most stunningly beautiful and unique plants grown anywhere in the world, from the gorgeous kangaroo paw of Western Australia to the glorious flowering wattles of the eastern states. Softstem is native to Eurasia, Australia, New Zealand and some parts of North America. Larger infestations can be removed by mechanical excavation. A Noongar Elder once commented to us that the feathery flowers of the seeding bulrushes were a Noongar indicator that it was time to burn them.  He was very concerned by the use of herbicides by the local Council on the Typha and other ripparian vegetation, believing that it would kill local fish and native bird populations.  He said that the Noongar way was to burn the Typha before all the seed left the flowers. We attempted to do this by crushing, scraping and drying a rhizome and managed to extract a small quantity of coarse fibrous flour-like granules that could have been further refined by grinding (and removing the fine fibrous matter) for use as a baking flour.  This would have been a very time-consuming and laborious method of obtaining flour but we cannot rule out this possible means of survival. (Grey travelled through this area in the late 1830’s). The anthropogenic firing of Typha swamps is a good example of early Noongar people’s intervention using fire to create an ecologically balanced riverine and wetland environment. The introduced cumbungi is found throughout the State in farm dams, creeks, ponds and slow moving rivers. The Waugal was not only a creator but also a destroyer to those who disobeyed the ancient laws.  Even to this day the Waugal is feared and revered by Noongar people when they frequent places believed to be associated with the Waugal. This group is for photos, videos & artwork of AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BIRDS only!!! It may tend to become more invasive in certain types of soil and can even survive brackish water. Agricultural Workforce Resilience Package, Identifying, Selling & Moving Livestock/NLIS, COVID-19 Help for Agricultural Businesses, Traveller's Guide to Tasmanian Biosecurity - What You Can and Can't Bring into Tasmania, Development Planning & Conservation Assessment, Land Information System Tasmania (theLIST), Spatial Discovery - Educational Resources for Schools, Water licence and dam permit applications, Managing Wildlife Browsing & Grazing Losses, Water Information System of Tasmania (WIST), Managing Wildlife Grazing and Browsing Losses, Herbicides for Cumbungi (Bullrush) Control, Cumbungi (also known as bullrush) is a name given to a group of three similar plant species found in Tasmania. From October to January new shoots emerge from the base. Most plants will die in the first year using this cutting method. Can be found growing along the edges of lagoons and waterways in the northern half of Australia. As a food, starch can be eaten from the roots/tubers. Leaves are a pale greyish green, long and strap shaped 8 to 20 mm wide. He writes: ‘This plant is an important one to the natives, as it furnishes them, at one season of the year, with a large portion of their food. The natives dig up these roots, clean and roast them, and then extract the farinaceous matter. Use of a backhoe, bulldozer or dragline may be needed to restore the dam to its original capacity. feedback form or by telephone. Very useful in landscaping and land reclamation Australian Native Rushes are a versatile group of non woody plants. It protects the Typha beds from an excessive build up of subsurface organic material known as ‘muck’ and its potential for igniting destructive deep muck fires, arising from spontaneous combustion or lightning strikes, which in severe instances could destroy the entire Typha bed. Magherafelt. [the roots] are thick and succulent, and contain a large portion of starch and mucilage.  It may be worth the white man’s knowing, that when any of them are so unfortunate as to be lost in the bush, they need not suffer much from hunger, by using this plant as the natives do; it generally abounds near water.’ (Drummond 7th May 1836 in Hercock et al 2011: 19; also in Perth Gazette 28th May 1836). We would suggest that because the Typha was burned annually, according to ethno-historical accounts, that possibly only a light ‘muck-burning’ of the soil took place. WHAT ARE NATIVE BEES? And we have heaps for you to choose from. However, by 1834 European flour would have been in use by Aboriginal groups, especially those living in close proximity to white settlement.  We have no doubts that Noongar women extracted a flour-like substance from the rhizomes of Typha and cooked it in much the same way as described by contemporary Noongar women whom we interviewed.  We interpret this process as roasting, peeling, grinding and removing the excess fibrous material and then baking the moist pasty mixture in an earth oven.  We could find no ethnohistorical accounts of how the Typha flour was produced. It may also explain the enigmatic sweetness of the Typha cakes consumed by Major Sir Thomas Mitchell in April 1836 when exploring the Lachlan River of New South Wales. This was just prior to the wet season. It contains so much gluten, that one of our party, Charles Webb, made, in a short time, some excellent cakes of it; and they seemed to me lighter and sweeter than those prepared from common flour….’ (Mitchell 24th April 1839 in Maiden 1917), We were not surprised to find that Noongar people collected the starchy substance from Typha rhizome at the time of its peak sweetness. It was an indispensable tool – sometimes used as a weapon – that was individually manufactured, maintained and carried by its female user and even accompanied her to the grave (Nind 1831:47). This aquatic plant grows all over Australia. This plant is of great importance to the natives, as furnishing a great portion of the food of their women and children, for several months in the year…. The symbolic association of Typha with the Waugal mythology is well-recognised, especially with regards to the health of the wetland ecosystem.  The Waugal has been explained to us on numerous occasions by the Elders as being a metaphor for the continuous cycle of replenishment and renewal of fresh water and birdlife in the lakes, swamps and rivers of Noongar country. Some of them were busy sucking the honey water which they extracted from the flowers of the red gum tree; others baking their flour into cakes.’. Typha is commonly known as Bulrush in Australia and Cattails in the United States. O’Connor et al. When baked into cake form it would have been of a heavy dense texture that could be stored for future use. Drummond (1836) shows a degree of ambivalence to Brown’s species classification of Typha when he remarks that: ‘…it is described with a mark of doubt in Brown New Holland Plants as Typha angustifolia of Linnaeus, but it is a very different species; the roots in particular are different: they are thick and succulent and contain a large portion of starch and mucilage.’ (Drummond 1836). Our interpretations in this paper are based on an examination of early ethnohistorical accounts together with some contemporary Noongar Elders’ views and our own anthropological analysis to try and reach an understanding of Typha useage in traditional Noongar culture.  Most of the early colonial observations were fleeting and vague and difficult to interpret from an anthropological perspective.  For example, Moore states: ‘Got from the natives a piece of bread made of the root of the flag which they called yandyett. Backhouse in 1837 refers to Typha in the swamps around Perth as being broad-leaved (T. latifolia). Moore’s journal entry on 29th March 1834 describes the Typha extract (unclear what he is referring to) as ‘tasteless to me, being fibrous and farinaceous.’ On the other hand, Grey’s journal entry (1841: 294) describes the ‘cake’ formed from the Typha paste after pounding the roots as ‘very nice.’. We are not aware of any chemical or nutritional analyses of yanjet rhizomes having been carried out in Western Australia. ideally if such tests are to be carried out we would recommend that (i) the Typha patch be burned in accordance with traditional local land management practices and that (ii) the sample specimens are collected during autumn (late March/ April/ May) in accordance with the ethnohistorical record when the root is still in its dormancy and before the heavy winter rains cause flooding. Moore (1842: 24) records the Noongar name for digging: ‘dtanbarrang-ijow – to dig up; to dig out. When the white men first settled in this colony, the natives of the Canning, Upper Swan, Lower Swan, and Perth districts, were in the habit of meeting annually in the autumn, in the vicinity of a swamp on Grove Farm [Belmont area] now the property of Mr. John Hardy; these meetings lasted for several days, and I observed that on these occasions they principally fed upon the roots of the Typha, which they call yandyait. Cumbungi are semi-aquatic plants growing in lakes, dams, irrigation channels, marshes and rivers where the flow is slow and dissolved nutrient levels are high. Australian Native Rushes and Reeds. From the vague ethnohistorical accounts for southwestern Australia it would seem that this same method was used. 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