A STORY from Rebecca Morris in The Examiner of 21 June 2019, describes the commercial values of four Tasmanian native plants.
The most valuable appears to be the shrub Kunzea ambigua, (White Kunzea, pictured here). The oils from this exude a powerful fragrance which is used for aromatherapy. A cream made from its oils is useful for pain relief.
An example of this shrub may be seen in the native street bed at the Great Western Tiers Visitor Information Centre, Deloraine. It should be flowering by the time the Gazette is distributed.
In the article, the chief executive of Essential Oils of Tasmania (EOT), writes, ‘The health benefits of Tasmania’s native plants, particularly kunzea, have been understood by the traditional owners of this land for many thousands of years, so it’s exciting to … explore their potential’.
The berries from the Tasmanian native pepper, Tasmannia lanceolata, which grows along the lakes in the Highlands, can be used for food flavouring, and as an anti-oxidant.
Another aromatic plant from the Highland areas, the endemic Boronia citriodora, bears in its crushed leaves a powerful citrus scent.
The article also mentions a plant the author calls Southern Rosalina, which research reveals is the common swamp paperbark Melaleuca ericifolia, common in poorly drained areas in Northern Tasmania. In early summer, its scented white flowers resemble a layer of snow lying on the top of the foliage. The Flinders Island strain is apparently the best source of aromatic oils.
In the vegie garden
There are few vegetables which cannot be grown in October. Celery is a useful vegetable both raw in salads, or cooked in soup. The minute seeds are best started in punnets in seed raising mix, and planted out when they are 3cm in height. They take two to three weeks to germinate (keep them well watered), and three or four months to harvesting. They need liberal amounts of animal manure or compost, and regular watering during summer months.
In September’s issue of the Gazette, I said Acacia dealbata was Black Wattle. It is actually Silver Wattle.