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Bush Banana

Bush Food / Bush Tucker - Central Australia

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Flora of Central Australia

Bush Banana
(Leichhardtia australis)

Also commonly known as silky pear, Doubah, Native pear.

The bush banana is a climbing woody vine found growing on other shrubs and trees, and often difficult to see among the trees own leaves. The bush banana has creamy flowers, and thick narrow leaves that grow from a short stalk. The fruiting pod is pear-shaped, hence its other common names.

An important Aboriginal food, the sweet flower and young fruits are eaten raw, being the most favoured parts of the plant. The seeds are also lightly roasted for consumption. When the seed matures, it consists mainly of bitter seeds and their plumes. The seeds are discarded and only the thick outer rind eaten. The shoots and young leaves are also eaten, whilst the older leaves are eaten after being steamed. Even the roots are eaten during times of food shortage. The only parts not eaten are the woody stems and fine roots.

The plant was originally named ‘Marsdenia australia’. ‘Marsdenia’, after William Marsden, 1754-1836, the Irish orientalist and numismatist.; ‘australis’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘southern’.

Extreme care must be taken when identifying edible food plants and those used in bush medicine. Some bush foods are only edible at different stages of the plant cycle, or when treated appropriately. Bush medicine should only be used under the guidance of a qualified physician. Information here is only provided for research. You should always seek experts in the field to confirm the identification of the plant and whether they are edible or appropriate.

Flora Images — Bush Banana

Bush Food Plants in Central Australia
Bush Banana (Marsdenia australis) ฉ Greg Sully, August 2007

Bush Banana (Marsdenia australis) ฉ Greg Sully, August 2007

Bush Banana (Marsdenia australis) ฉ Greg Sully, August 2007

More information can be seen in the Flora section on the Bush Banana.
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