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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.

Yellow Tulipwood

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Drypetes deplanchei

Yellow tulip, grey boxwood, white myrtle, grey bark


Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family, same family as Cassava and Castor Oil)

Yellow Tulipwood

Basic info:

This is an understory rainforest shade tree, which is native to Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and north-eastern NSW, as well as on New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island.

It can be found in coastal and tableland forests, monsoon forests, vine thickets and on stabilized dunes and is common in monsoonal vine forest in Northern Australia.

It is a small to medium-sized tree, growing up to 15 m high (but generally 5-8m), often with a flanged base.

The leaves vary in shape, are hairless and a glossy green in colour, and a somewhat paler green underneath. The foliage contains mustard oils as a chemical defence against herbivores.

Yellowish green flowers, or sometimes yellow-brown, form in spring from the forks of the leaves, and it is from these that the fruits develop.  The species is dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers form on separate trees.

The fruits, when ripe, are bright red and soft with a yellow fleshy centre. Each fruit contains a single seed with a hard shell. The fruit is usually mature from February to April.

The fruit is attractive to birds, especially the Wompoo fruit dove.

Uses and Interesting Information:

Indigenous people ate the fruit raw, and used the leaves in cooking to season and flavour savoury cooking dishes, especially meat and seafood. Leaves are placed on the food before and during the cooking process to sweeten the dish.

Medicinal uses: Leaf and bark extracts have been found to contain anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, and have also been shown to be effective against cancer cells. (See Setzer et al, “The Medicinal Value of Tropical Rainforest Plants from Paluma, North Queensland, Australia.” Pharmaceutical Biology 39 (1): 67–78; and SK Pokharel, “Discovery of novel compound from cytotoxic active plants”, (2016), Thesis from University of Alabama. 170.)

It has a close-grained timber suitable for woodwork and cabinetmaking. In pioneering days, the timber of this tree was used to make handles for bullock-whips, especially in the Richmond River district of NSW. Early settlers on Lord Howe Island used the timber for sea piles because the sap repels marine worms.


  • Recipes to come

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