Murnong in Barmm Birrm

Microseris sp 3

Murnong in Barmm Birrm

Microseris walteri

At first glance, yam daisies look very like a dandelion or another ubiquitous weed, cat's ear. The difference is the starburst flower, where some petals extend further than the others. When the flower buds are still growing the head droops right down, only pointing upwards once the flower opens.

Once the Murnong has finished flowering, the head again droops, before reopening as a seed head. You'll find them on the mid-slopes and lower slopes of Barrm Birrm, and after the wet Spring of 2021, there were many of them. To pick them out from the very similar dandelion, look for the foliage at the base: it has a thin-leaf, not broad like the dandelion.

Murnong was the main staple food for the Wurundjeri people until the mid-1840s, when the introduction of sheep ate out the murnong. The plant produces gangly, milky, white tuberous roots that can be eaten raw or baked. Grow your own and serve them warm with butter, mixed with other vegetables, or turned into a paste for desserts. They taste sweet and slightly coconutty. The slightly bitter leaves are also edible: add them to a salad with a vinegar dressing.

Greening of Riddell have grown a special murnong patch in Wybejong Park, so that's another place you can get up close to them. Or look online and grow them from seed yourself.

Murnong in Barmm Birrm

Tuber of Mwalteri

Murnong in Barmm Birrm

Mwalteri with its leaves