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

Pale Sundew (Drosera peltata) 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.

Yellow Rush Lily (Tricoryne elatior) 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 Lily (Bulbine bulbosa) 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.

The Ngunnawal people ate the roasted bulbs.

Nodding Chocolate Lily (Arthropodium fimbriatum) 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.

The Ngunnawal people ate the roasted bulbs.

Slender Tick Trefoil (Desmodium varians) 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.

Small St John’s Wort (Hypericum gramineum) 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.

Yam Daisy (Microseris walteri 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.

The Ngunnawal people ate the tubers raw or roasted.

Fringed Lily (Thysanotus tuberosus) 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.

The Ngunnawal people ate the tubers raw or roasted.