A Sri Lankan Way Of Spice
Noel Burdette

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The popularity of cooking and sourcing fresh ingredients means more gardeners are keen to experiment with growing interesting edible plants in their gardens, including exotic tasting spices. These plants are often easier to grow then traditional herbs in the warm climate garden.

Noel Burdette loves to grow, cook and eat his favourite Sri Lankan spices and shares this knowledge.

The tropical island of Sri Lanka is situated off the southern tip of India and is often mistaken for being part of India itself. It has its own unique culture that spans many thousands of years. Spices feature heavily in its cuisine and the flavours and methods of cooking are truly individual and highly distinctive.

From a culinary aspect, being brought up in a Sri Lankan household had its benefits. From a young age I was encouraged to help in the kitchen and learn the benefits of cooking. My mother’s spice pantry seemed like a jumble of recycled bottles and jars filled with seeds, dried leaves and powders of different colours, textures, aromas, and sizes.

Noel looks also at 10 spices:

  • Curry Leaf Tree (Bergera koenigii syn. Murraya koenigii)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa syn. Curcuma domestica)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • Cardamom-scented Alpinia (Alpinia mutica)
  • Pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius)
  • Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum syn. C. zeylanicum)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Three
Curry Leaf Tree (Bergera koenigii syn. Murraya koenigii).
Pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius).
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus).
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Sharing Resources

Joan Dillon

Images John Dillon

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In our valley in South East Queensland we are busy and healthy, but getting older so younger new-comers, especially keen vegetable gardeners like Lizzie Moult are enthusiastically welcomed. Her land, an ex-cow paddock growing grass and lantana, needs considerable work to make it truly productive and is without an adequate water supply. We are no longer quite as energetic as we were in our twenties but we have an established and fenced vegetable garden and a supply of tank water.

Time to do a resource audit
Lizzie can supply energy, physical strength, enthusiasm, time and her own knowledge. We can supply an area secure from the chooks and brush turkeys, established growing beds, water, local experience and a utility for collecting mushroom compost from nearby producers.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Three
Sharing Resources
Sharing Resources
Sharing Resources
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Horseradish Tree (Moringa oleifera)
Arno King





Do you want to grow something a little different? Then perhaps try
this little beauty – the Pepino (Solanum muricatum).

This little evergreen sprawling shrub 0.75-1.2m tall by 1-1.5m wide originates in the higher elevated Andean regions of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador in South America and is grown around the world for its sweet edible fruit.

It is a member of the potato (Solanaceae) family and is related to
fruiting plants such as Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), Eggplants (Solanum melongena), Chillies (Capsicum frutescens), Capsicums (Capsicum annuum), and of course the well known vegetable, the
Potato (Solanum tuberosum).

Claire looks briefly at:

  • Cultivation
  • Pruning
  • Propagation
  • Harvesting & Eating
  • Availability
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Three
Horseradish Tree pods are known as drumsticks.
The ferny leaves are a common sight in Asian markets.
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Sweet Potato - How Sweet it is!

Claire Bickle



The Sweet Potato is a trailing perennial groundcover with lobed leaves that comes in various colours including green, gold, purple or maroon. The tubers, which are the food reserve of the plant and the part we like to eat, also vary in shape, size and colour. The edible tuber is technically a modified root.

The Sweet Potato originates in the Andean highlands of South America. It would be forgivable to think that it is also a native of other parts of the world such as the South Pacific Island region, South East Asia and New Zealand due the fact that they have been grown and consumed in these regions for many centuries, having been introduced by Pacific Island voyagers and Spanish and Portuguese traders.

Other topics covered are:

  • Culture
  • Propagation
  • Cultivars
  • Pests & Diseases
  • Eat it
  • Benefits

A recipe for Sweet Potato & Rocket Summer Salad is also available.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Three
The common root crop typically have heart-shaped green leaves. New growth is coloured purple.
Coloured flesh and skin provides interest in the garden and kitchen.
Sweet Potato & Rocket Summer Salad
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Soursop  the spiky custard apple

Barbara Beerling



Many years ago we had a tree growing on a property we owned in suburban Brisbane. It produced a strange fruit, so I took it to my elderly and wise fruiterer for identification. It was a Soursop used as a base for fruit salad in many hotels during the war.

Soursop (Annona muricata) also known as Graviola and Guanabana is thought to be native to the West Indies, although it is now also widespread throughout Central and South America, where it is used to make a very popular refreshing drink.

Topics covered are:

  • Characteristics of the fruit
  • Cultivation
  • Propagation
  • Harvesting
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Culinary Uses
  • Medicinal Uses
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Three
Mountain Soursop (Annona montana).
Soursop (Annona muricata) tree.
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Aussie Wild Parsnips (Trachymene incisa)

By the Queensland Bushfood Association (QBA)
John King



The Aussie Wild Parsnip or Native Parsnip is a member of the Apiaceae family, and is related to celery, dill, fennel and the ornamental native Flannel Flower (Actinotus helianthi).

It is widely distributed in coastal New South Wales and Queensland.

The plant grows as an upright or sprawling herb reaching a height of
50-80cm. In some areas the species develops a thick perennial rootstock
– the parsnip.

The leaves are deeply lobed and look somewhat like parsley.

Plants may produce white or pink flowers. There are between 30-60 individual small flowers in the inflorescence, which is technically referred
to as an umbel. Flowering occurs mostly from spring to autumn.

A recipe for Native Parsnips & Jasmine Tea Smoked Pork with Wild Green Salad is also available.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty Three
Trachymene incisa, spreading.
Native Parsnips & Jasmine Tea Smoked Pork with Wild Green Salad
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