The Useful Native Plants Walk starts beside the Education Building and follows the path eastwards, towards Victoria Street. It returns along the footpath on Edgar Street. Look for the small timber name signs to identify the plants. Many of the trees are mature now, but we are still adding new understorey plants which are not named yet.
(The big trees along Victoria Street are tamarinds, Tamarindus indica, not native to Brisbane.)
For a list of the useful native plants on the Northey Street City farm site see here
Small-leafed Lilly- Pilly/ Riberry
Syzygium leuhmannii. Myrtaceae
A small tree to medium tree with distinctive pink new growth. The plant is a popular garden or street specimen. Edible coral coloured fruit is used in jams and sauces or can be eaten fresh.
Macadamia integrifolia. Proteaceae
A medium sized tree with leathery leaves and racemes of white flowers. The nuts are within a hard, woody shell. Macadamia is widely grown commercially for the edible nuts. Eat the nuts fresh, roasted or extract oil.
Aleurites moluccanus. Euphorbiaceae
A very large, fast-growing tree with hard shelled nuts. The plant is widespread throughout the Asia-Pacific region and has been used by humans since neolithic times. The nuts can be eaten once cooked. The nuts are rich in oil and can be burned as a ‘candle’. The extracted oil is used in cosmetics and the bark can be used as dye. It is the state tree of Hawaii.
Jagera pseudorhus. Sapindaceae
A large tree with compound leaves. Distinctive hairy seed capsules split into 3 sections, each containing a small black seed. The hairs on the seed capsules irritate the skin. The bark and leaves were traditionally used as a fish poison. Butterfly host plant and attracts birds.
Davidsons Plum (Ooray)
Davidsonia pruriens Cunoniaceae
A tall rainforest tree with large pinnate leaves. Fruit is edible fresh after allowing it to soften, or in jams or drinks. The fruit is popular with many birds.
Clammy Cherry/ Snottygobble/ Glueberry Tree
Cordia dichotoma. Boraginaceae
Slow growing medium sized tree grows in coastal rainforests. Small yellow to pinkish egg-shaped fruit can be eaten fresh.
Pandanus spiralis. Pandanaceae
A small tree with distinctive stilt roots and spirally arranged spiky leaves. The fruit resembles a woody cone, and the seeds can be ground into flour. The leaves are used for fibre, and in weaving hats and baskets.
Spiny-head Mat Rush
Lomandra longifolia. Asparagaceae
A small clumping perennial with strappy leaves. It is widely used in landscaping. The seeds are ground into flour and the bases of the leaves are edible. The mature leaves are used in basket weaving.
Macaranga tanarius. Euphorbiaceae
A medium sized tree with distinctive large round leaves. One of its common names is Parasol leaf Tree. It is a fast-growing pioneer plant useful in bush regeneration. The timber was traditionally used for firewood and small furniture.
Lemon-scented Tea Tree
Leptospermum petersonii. Myrtaceae
A small shrub or tree, popular as a garden plant, that can be pruned to form a hedge. It has decorative white flowers in spring and early summer. The narrow leaves smell strongly of lemon. The leaves can be mixed with black tea to make a lemon tea. Aromatic oils are extracted from the leaves and used in cosmetics and to scent soaps or candles.
Illawarra Plum/ Plum Pine/ Brown Pine
Podocarpus elatus. Podocarpaceae
A medium to large rainforest conifer that doesn’t form cones. Members of this genus appear as fossils from the Triassic period, so it could have been dinosaur food! It has edible dark purple fruit, which is a swollen stem with the seed protruding from it. The fruit is good for jams & preserves. The timber is called Brown Pine. It has a very fine straight grain, so it has been used for violin cases and piano keys as well as for furniture and flooring.
Araucaria bidwilli. Araucariaceae
This very large coniferous tree has spiky leaves and a distinctive domed crown shape when it is mature. It bears large cones containing the edible seed or ‘nut’. The nuts are boiled, roasted or ground into flour. First Nations people used to gather from long distances for bunya festivals when the nuts were in season and are still holding festivals today. The timber is used in cabinetmaking and for guitars.
Red Ash/ Soap Tree
Alphitonia excelsa. Rhamnaceae
A large rainforest tree with distinctive pale undersides to the leaves. The leaves were used as soap substitute and as fish poison. The leaves are food for some butterfly caterpillars. The timber is used in cabinet making.
Brachychiton acerifolius. Malvaceae
Also known as Kurrajong, this tree has bright red bell-shaped flowers which cover the tree while it is leafless in late Spring. It has deeply-lobed leaves. Edible seed is contained in a pod and is covered with sticky irritant hairs. The seed is toasted and the hairs rubbed off before eating.
Casuarina cunninghamiana. Casuarinaceae
The tree grows beside creeks or in swamps throughout Eastern Australia. There are male and female trees, the females bearing small rounded cones. Used in agroforestry around the world as a wind break and a nitrogen-fixer. The dense wood is good firewood and is also used as furniture timber.
Pleiogynium timoriense. Anacardiaceae
A medium sized tree with glossy dark green compound leaves. The purple fruit are edible once further ripened after picking them. The fruit is used in jams and sauces. The timber is used in wood-turning when available.
Pouteria australis. Sapotaceae
A large tree with a fluted trunk when the tree is mature. The black edible fruit is used for jams or eaten fresh. The tree was harvested for timber in the past.
Syzigium australe. Myrtaceae
This small rainforest tree has distinctive pink new growth and pink to red fruit. The fruit used in jams or eaten fresh. The plant has many cultivars used in landscaping, especially for hedges.
Paper Bark Tea Tree
Melaleuca quinquinervia. Myrtaceae
A medium sized tree with thick papery bark and while bottlebrush flowers. It prefers swampy soil and is usually found in wetlands. Medicinal oil is extracted from the leaves. The bark was traditionally used for coolamons and wrapping food.
Batswing Coral Tree
Erythrina vespertillio. Fabaceae
A large tree with knobbly bark that can grow in dry areas. Leaves are lobed, and the shape resembles bat’s wings. Red pea-shaped flowers appear while the tree is leafless in late winter followed by poisonous bean like seeds. The roots are edible. The timber is used for carving and traditionally for weapons and shields.
Small – leaved Tamarind
Diploglottis campbelli. Sapindaceae
A medium sized subtropical rainforest tree which is an endangered species. It has large leaves which are glossy on the upper surface, and small brownish flowers. The sour fruit with a red, edible aril, is used in jams, drinks and sauces.
Dendrocnide photinophylla. Urticaceae
This large tree with a buttressed trunk is also known as gympie. Avoid touching the leaves or twigs as they’re covered in stinging hairs. It bears edible, white fruit which are also attractive to birds. The bark fiber was traditionally used to make string.
Pouteria eerwah. Sapotaceae
A small to medium rainforest tree or shrub with shiny leaves. It is native to south-east Queensland and an endangered species. It is also known as shiny-leaved coondoo. Dark purple to black edible fruit can be found all year round.
Hairy Birds Eye
Alectryon tomentosus. Sapindaceae
A hardy rainforest tree with serrated compound leaves and hairy new growth and leaves. Pale pink flowers are followed by edible fruit inside a hairy capsule.
Backhousia citriodora. Myrtaceae
A small tree with white scented flowers and strongly lemon-scented leaves. The leaves are used fresh or dried as tea or flavouring. Oil is extracted from the leaves and used in cosmetics and cleaning products.
Along the road:
Glycosmis trifoliata. Rutaceae
Small tree to 8m in the citrus family. Scented white flowers followed by small edible pink fruit, eaten fresh. The plant is host to butterfly larvae.
Ficus opposita. Moraceae
A small tree or shrub that is hardy. Rough leaves were traditionally used for smoothing timber and medicinally. The fruit is edible when fully ripe and black. The fruit attracts birds and butterflies. Traditionally, string was made from the bark.
Melia azederach. Meliaceae
A medium sized deciduous tree native to Australasia and south-east Asia. Scented lilac flowers are followed by yellow fruit containing poisonous seeds. The seeds were used as beads, and the leaves and bark were traditionally used as fish poison. The leaves can also be used as fodder. It is mainly grown as a timber tree.
Hibiscus tiliaceus. Malvaceae
This small tree is found in coastal areas or close to water. The edible hibiscus-like flowers last for one day. The young shoots are also edible. It has large heart-shaped leaves. The timber is used for carving and furniture, the bark to make rope.
Moreton Bay Chestnut/ Black bean
Castanospermum australe. Fabaceae
A tall tree with large pinnate leaves, which often grows along stream banks in Brisbane. Red and yellow pea-shaped flowers are followed by a large woody pod containing 3 to 5 poisonous seeds. Seed was traditionally ground into flour and then processed in running water for days to remove toxins. The timber is called Black Bean and used for furniture or carving.