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Plant identification guides:
Bush tucker food forest

Information about medicinal qualities of plants, or about their use as medicines, is for interest only, and is not intended to be used as a guide for the treatment of medical conditions.


As with all medicinal applications of Australian bush foods, please do your due diligence and consult with First Nations or other Australian herbal specialists before utilising as a remedy for any condition.


Some parts of the plant may not be edible or some may need preparation before they are safe to eat or use in any way. We do our best to describe their traditional & modern uses. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure they are fit for their intended use.


We can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Native mulberry

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Pipturus argenteus

White mulberry, white nettle, False stinger, Queensland grass-cloth plant, (Aboriginal names: Koomeroo Koomeroo)



Native mulberry

Basic info:

The Native Mulberry is a non-stinging nettle can be found in subtropical, dry and riverine rainforest north from Lismore to North Queensland, mostly in coastal areas.

Leaves are elliptical with finely toothed margins, mid to deep green above and silvery underneath due to a dense covering of white hairs. The common names, White Nettle and False Stinger, refer to the fact that, unlike other nettles, the little white hairs on the leaves don’t sting.

Flowers are white in small clusters, with male and female flowers on separate plants. Flowering typically occurs from January to June, with fruit ripening between May and July.

This is an excellent tree for rainforest restoration as it attracts many birds and insects.

Because it is fast growing, the Native mulberry is a reliable fruiting and screen plant for shaded areas where a quick privacy screen to hide the neighbours is required, and is often used as a pioneer.

The flowers are used by adult butterflies for nectar and are a good plant for butterfly-friendly gardens.

Uses and Interesting Information:

The fruits of the Native Mulberry are small and white, almost translucent in appearance. They are soft and juicy, and (can) have a sweet and delicate flavour. The taste is highly variable, however, and (like conventional mulberries) some fruits can be rather absent in taste.

Like strawberries, they bear their seeds on the outside.

The fruit was a favourite treat for First Nations people wherever it grew, and the leaves were also cooked as a vegetable.

The leaves, roots and sap of this plant have been used in traditional medicine throughout the Asia-Pacific region, for a wide variety of purposes, including as follows:

  • The crushed leaves were rubbed on the body to relieve a fever or headache, as well as to ease centipede bites.

  • The leaves were boiled (together with the leaves of Alstonia spectabilis) and the liquid drunk to treat coughs, colds and flu.

  • New roots were cut and the sap allowed to drip into a container. Some of this was drunk and the rest used to wash the body of a person with malaria or severe cough. Root sap is also used to assist with wound healing and to soothe toothache.

  • Applied externally, the leaves, or the juice from heated leaves, were used for poulticing boils, burns and herpes sores.

  • The sap from the bark was used as a gargle for thrush.

  • The sap from the scraped inner bark was given to women in labour in order to facilitate delivery.

  • Rainwater collected from the leaves is used to treat asthma.

  • The bark is crushed in cold water and drunk twice daily to relieve dysentery.

[Source: J.L.C.H. Van Valkenberg & N Bunyapraphatsara (eds.), Plant Resources of South-East Asia, No 12(2) “Medicinal and Poisonous Plants 2”, Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, 2001)]

The bark was used by Indigenous people to make fibre for textiles, baskets and fishing nets. The bark also produces a brown dye that was used in cloth making.


  • Recipes to come

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