Geophytes: now you see me, now you don’t!

Drosera peltata
Drosera peltata

Pale Sundew

This is a herb with a small underground tuber and a flat basal rosette of leaves covered in sticky hairs. The plants have 1-3 erect, sticky-leaved flowering stems to 15 cm high with several flowers at the end. Each flower has five white or pale pink petals. The glandular hairs on the plants trap small insects.

Tricoryne elatior
Tricoryne elatior

Yellow Rush Lily

This is a lily with an underground rhizome and sprawling, much-branched wiry stems. The leaves at the base of the plant are much longer than those on the stems. The yellow flowers each have six narrow petals and six hairy stamens held above them.

Bulbine bulbosa
Bulbine bulbosa

 Bulbine Lily

This is a tufted lily with an underground bulb and erect fleshy leaves growing from ground level. The yellow flowers have six petals and grow along stems up to 30 cm long. The flowering stems usually have many buds in the upper part, open flowers below them, and young fruit in the lowest part.

Ngunnawal people ate the roasted bulbs.
Arthropodium fimbriatum
Arthropodium fimbriatum

Nodding Chocolate Lily

This is a tufted lily with large underground tubers and grass-like leaves. The flowering stems are to 70 cm tall, and have many widely-spaced clusters of purple flowers. The three outer petals on each flower are narrower than the inner three.

Ngunnawal people ate the roasted bulbs.
Desmodium varians
Desmodium varians

Slender Tick Trefoil

This is a herb with a woody root stock, leaves with three leaflets, clusters of small pea-shaped flowers, and several trailing or climbing leafy stems. It has whitish or pink flowers and hairy fruit pods that break into segments each 3-4 mm long.

Hypericum gramineum
Hypericum gramineum

Small St John’s Wort

This is a herb with an underground rhizome, and several erect leafy stems to 20 cm tall with leaves in opposite pairs along them. The stems bear one to several shortly stalked, pale orange-yellow flowers each with five rounded petals and numerous stamens held above them.

Microseris walteri
Microseris walteri

Yam Daisy

This is a herb with large underground tubers and elongate leaves growing from ground level. Each plant has several unbranched flowering stems to 30 cm long with a single yellow daisy flower head about 2 cm in diameter at the end. The stems droop while in bud.

Ngunnawal people ate the tubers raw or roasted.
Thysanotus tuberosus
Thysanotus tuberosus

Fringed Lily

This is a tufted lily with large underground tubers and grass‑like leaves. The flowering stems are to 40 cm tall, with up to 8 stalked flowers at the end. Each flower is purple and has three prominently fringed petals alternating with three unfringed ones.

Ngunnawal people ate the tubers raw or roasted.
Wurmbea dioica
Wurmbea dioica

Early Nancy

This is a lily with an underground corm and three grass-like leaves with stem-clasping bases. The flowering stems are to 15 cm high. Each flower has six white petals with a purplish band towards the base. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants.

Ngunnawal people ate the starch-rich inner core of the corms.
Calochilus platychilus
Calochilus platychilus

Purple Beard Orchid

This has have an underground tuber, a single erect leaf and an erect flowering stem. The flowering stems are to 45 cm high with up to nine flowers at the end. Each flower is about 3 cm long, greenish with reddish or purple stripes, and has an elongate petal-like structure covered in dense purple hairs.

Microtis unifolia
Microtis unifolia

Common Onion Orchid

This has an underground tuber, a single erect leaf and an erect flowering stem. It's flowering stems are to 50 cm high with numerous tiny green flowers along them.

Caladenia fuscata
Caladenia fuscata

Dusky Fingers

This has an underground tuber, a single erect leaf and an erect flowering stem. The flowering stems are up to 12 cm high. Each stem has a single pink flower with one upright and four spreading petals.

Ngunnawal Plant Use

Ngunnawal Plant Use provides information on the native plants of the ACT region and their many Ngunnawal uses.

The ACT’s traditional owners, the Ngunnawal people, used and continue to use the plant resources of this region for food, medicine, tools and weapons, fire, ceremonial purposes, water, fibre, dye and paint.

The robust, full-colour, A5, spiral-bound, 96-page field guide includes:

  • an introduction to Ngunnawal history and natural resource use
  • a guide to using the book
  • descriptions and photos of 69 plant species, including their Ngunnawal use, distribution, and method of propagation
  • further reading and references

Read more on the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate website.

Photographers: MF = Murray Fagg; RP = Rosemary Purdie

 

ACT Parks and Conservation Friends of Black Mountain Molonglo Catchment Group   ACT Government This project was supported with funding made available by the ACT Government under the ACT Heritage Grants Program.