Edible New Zealand Natives


Edible New Zealand Natives

To share knowledge of which New Zealand native plants are edible or medicinal, how to use them and how to cultivate them.

Members: 120
Latest Activity: Aug 15, 2017

Discussion Forum

Herbs and Wonders - Naturopathy consultations 2 Replies

Would like to let you know about: Low cost holistic health consultations with a final year Naturopathy studentThat would be me (or one of my classmates) :-)In our final months of 3 year degree run by…Continue

Started by Maria. Last reply by Maria Oct 10, 2013.

Preparing Karaka berries 9 Replies

I have been gathering together a variety of recipes on how to prepare Karaka recipes, to ensure the poison is out. Wondering if anyone would like to share a successful recipe???

Started by Louise Darragh-Law. Last reply by Roxy Hart Feb 9, 2013.

Recipies with Natives? 7 Replies

Has anyone got any good simple recipies using native edibles? I know that NZ Spinach can be substituted for regular spinach on pizza's or pasta's... I often crush a few horopito leaves and chuck them…Continue

Started by Jessi Nichols. Last reply by joni b Jun 25, 2012.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Edible New Zealand Natives to add comments!

Comment by Angie Gibbons on January 11, 2011 at 9:55am

FAT HEN - a common native garden weed - use as you would spinach, its very good for you only with the younger leaves, once leaves get old they have high oxalic acid I was told.


Comment by Sam Buchanan on January 11, 2011 at 12:05am

Had some tutu juice the other day - all parts of the plant are very poisonous - but if you squeeze ripe berries and filter through cloth to remove the seeds, the juice is OK. It's very sweet, slightly apple flavoured.

Maori made a jelly by cooking it with the approprate seaweed. Given the poisonous nature of the berries skin and seeds, this is another one of those 'how did anyone figure out how to make this plant edible' mysteries.

Comment by Angie Gibbons on November 24, 2010 at 4:46pm
Hi, Supple jack is really nice had the berries and the shoots last week. And they are also good for making hoops for gardens!
Comment by David Warren on September 21, 2010 at 8:10pm
Kia Ora....Native Plant Workshops.....'Te Rongoa Maori' (Traditional Maori Herbal Medicine of Aotearoa, NZ).....Please contact....
David Warren....divineessence@xtra.co.nz....
Comment by David Warren on September 15, 2010 at 6:15pm
Kia Ora....I have been traditionally trained in the identification and medicinal uses of Te Rongoa Maori (Traditional Maori Herbal Medicine)...and offer two day beginner workshops here in New Plymouth, Taranaki....or in your area if you would like to co create one with me.....A suggestion for all of those giving advice or suggestions regarding NZ native plants for food or medicine...Please attempt to give the Latin name for the plants along side the Maori name...this is because different Iwi trqaditionally use different names for the same plant....and as mentioned in some of the earlier posts....eg...the name of a plant in the Bay of Plenty may be of a different name in Northland...and/or....different Iwi use the SAME name for different plants....This is the most important aspect of learning about the usage of plants for ingesting as food or medicine....The identification of them is...without doubt! ....David.
Comment by Christy Martin on July 23, 2010 at 6:41pm
yes, thank you Sam. Great info!
Comment by Isabell Strange on July 22, 2010 at 11:05pm
thanks Sam; for the info on seaweed and the RC Cooper book.
Comment by Sam Buchanan on July 22, 2010 at 3:49pm
Ah - here's the gen on seaweed (from my brother via the whenuaforthepeople.org.nz website). It's acid not acrid, and brown/green, not red : )

"There are, as far as I know, no really poisonous seaweeds, although one genus of brown algae, Desmarestia, is highly acidic. This seaweed is found in New Zealand (it is reasonably common around Wellington,although usually in deeper water and found in drift on the shore). After a little storage it turns green and exudes acid that breaks down any other seaweeds it is in contact with. A little nibble will put you off this immediately - it is very acidic.

"Otherwise most seaweeds can be eaten, although most are just not palatable (too tough or tasteless). Common edible seaweeds are Macrocystis (used in kelp 'peppers' or kelp chips), Porphyra (Karengo, the same genus as nori used in sushi) and various seaweeds used to make jellies (e.g. Pterocladia, Gigartina). Bull kelp (Durvillaea) is added to stews in Chile, but takes a fair bit ofcooking. I also use dried Gigartina decipiens as a clearing agent in home brewed beer."
Comment by Sam Buchanan on July 22, 2010 at 3:17pm
In addition to Andrew Crowe, the book Economic Native Plants in New Zealand by S. G. Brooker et al (which in the 2nd edition became New Zealand's Economic Native Plants by R.C. Cooper et al, just to be confusing) is worth a look - it focusses on growing natives commercially, as opposed to the 'what you can eat on a bush walk' focus of Crowe. The discussion of the possibility of a cabbage tree-based sugar industry has always intrigued me.

The imposing Maori Healing and Herbal by Murdoch Riley is the ultimate sourcebook for medicinals, and Nancy Adams' Seaweeds of New Zealand is the champion for identifying those salty not-quite-real-plants things. I don't know if there's anything particularly good on eating NZ seaweed, but they are all technically edible, except for that one very acrid reddish species I can't remember the name of. In any case, a small nibble will immediately put you off it with no real harm done.
Comment by Kama Burwell on July 21, 2010 at 4:12pm
-In August, in a warm place (inside or glasshouse), place your "seed kumara" on good top of topsoil or compost at least 20 cm deep. Make sure the seed kumara aren't touching each other. You could use a bucket with the bottom taken out, or build a wee wooden frame.
-Cover the kumara with 10 cm of light sand or light sandy soil (important that it is light sand, if too heavy, the sprouts can't push through it). Keep moist but not wet.
-The kumara will send up sprouts. Pinch off the sprouts just below the sand, and grow on as cuttings in a cutting mix in a seedling tray.
-The seed kumara will send up more sprouts, so keep taking cuttings and growing them on in your tray until it is time to transplant them outside.
-Plant out into the garden after the last frosts.
-At transplant time, you can gently unearth your seed kumara, and carefully pull the last sprouts off the kumara, with roots intact, and plant outside. Using this method, from just 1 seed kumara, you can get heaps of kumara plants.

Hope this works for you.
Last year, I used sand that was too heavy and too thick (and made worse by watering it from above which compacted the sand), and my poor sprouts couldn't force their way through the sand. When I unearthed them in frustration, I found heaps of sprouts curled around in tight spirals next to the seed kumara.

Members (117)


What's Buzzing? 


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2021   Created by Pete Russell.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service