Native vegetables becoming an Australian staple

Indigenous root vegetables may soon be in commercial production on community farms in our South West Region.  

 Noongar Aboriginal carbohydrate staples from south-western Australia. (a) Karno (left, Platysace cirrosa ) and youck ( Platysace deflexa ); (b) yanjit or yandjiti ( Typha ); (c) mean ( Haemodorum ); (d) warran or warrine ( Dioscorea yams). Photos: (a) Geoff Woodall; (b) and (d) Stephen D. Hopper; (c) Kingsley W. Dixon.  Source:

While there's an abundance of native root vegetables which sustained Indigenous communities, more than two centuries after European settlement, few if any have been domesticated and marketed to the mainstream. A couple of vegetables have the fine food industry buzzing and Aboriginal-run farms are positioning to grow and sell them.

One chef already singing the praises of indigenous root vegetables is Paul Iskov, who runs Fervor, a mobile pop-up restaurant producing fine dining in exotic outdoor locations around WA.

"You're not going to find tomatoes or carrots on our menu, it's going to be youlk, kulyu, blood root,  — those kind of things," Mr Iskov said in an interview with the ABC.

Vincenzo Veletri, a Swan Valley chef and promoter for Slow Foods Australia, said the domestication of youlk, kulyu, blood root crops would be an important step towards saving important traditional foods.

"What is important for us is to keep the food, because with time, the food disappears if no one is going to have a look at it," Mr Veletri said.

Maybe time to update our breakfast menu and add some native edible vegetables?