Black Bean: Plant Profile

Nutritious seeds not recommended for consumption!

Australian Bush Tucker Bites presents Black Bean Tree (Castanospermum australe).

It’s a sad fact of Australia’s history that much of the culture of First Nations people has been lost due to government policies that separated people from their land and families.

While it is known that many First Nations people along the East coast of Australia considered the Black Bean Tree a valuable source of nutrition, without correct processing of the seeds they are toxic.

The Girringun people of the Cassowary Coast called them Mirran. They cooked, grated and left the seeds in running water for many days.

Australian children, however, are more familiar with the pods than the seeds. They make fantastic “boats” for racing in rainforest streams.

The Black Bean Tree now is more popular as an indoor plant than its nutritious but potentially fatal seeds.

This post was originally published on Medium as a part of the “Australian Bush Tucker Bites” series which is also available as an eBook introducing 52 bush food plants from around Australia.

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