Autumn in the South Coast

Day 8.
It rains, a lot. It’s a good autumn, wet and mild.
The plants are happy, lots of them flowering and fruiting, celebrating and propagating after an harsh and very dry summer.

Today Gary showed you and Tom the way to Beeweeree.
Last time you tried with Jim to reach the site you couldn’t get past the Lantana.

It turned out you were trying to get through the wrong path, eventually giving up, feeling like gorillas in thick vegetation, and frustrated for not having a machete.

The ruins of the homestead are all is left from a fire which claimed the wooden house in the late 50s.

ruinpic by Jim Walliss

You wanted to get there to have a look at the site, have a look for any left overs of vegetable patch or orchard, or anything really. You’re looking for botanical footprints.

You found the biggest oak tree you ever seen in a while, in Australia anyway. Must be over 100 years old.
There is also an impressive chestnut tree, but couldn’t get too close to it, lantana!

You will go back when is not raining, with a machete, and a camera.

In the mean time your collection gets bigger and bigger, Beeweeree sported Portulaca.


Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Edible Uses: Salt.

The young leaves are a very acceptable addition to salads, their mucilaginous quality also making them a good substitute for okra as a thickener in soups. Older leaves are used as a potherb. The leaves have a somewhat sour flavour. A spicy and somewhat salty taste. The leaves are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, though seed sources such as walnuts are much richer. The leaves can be dried for later use. They contain about 1.8% protein, 0.5% fat, 6.5% carbohydrate, 2.2% ash[179]. Another analysis gives the following figures per 100g ZMB. 245 – 296 calories, 17.6 – 34.5g protein, 2.4 – 5.3g fat, 35.5 – 63.2g carbohydrate, 8.5 – 14.6g fibre, 15.9 – 24.7g ash, 898 – 2078mg calcium, 320 – 774mg phosphorus, 11.2 – 46.7mg iron, 55mg sodium, 505 – 3120mg potassium, 10560 – 20000ug B-carotene equivalent, 0.23 – 0.48mg thiamine, 1.12 – 1.6mg riboflavin, 5.58 – 6.72mg niacin and 168 – 333mg ascorbic acid.

The seed can be ground into a powder and mixed with cereals for use in gruels, bread, pancakes etc. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize. In arid areas of Australia the plants grow quite large and can produce 10, 000 seeds per plant, a person can harvest several pounds of seed in a day. The seeding plants are uprooted and placed in a pile on sheets or something similar, in a few days the seeds are shed and can be collected from the sheet.
The seed contains (per 100g ZMB) 21g protein, 18.9g fat 3.4g ash. Fatty acids of the seeds are 10.9% palmitic, 3.7% stearic, 1.3% behenic, 28.7% oleic, 38.9% linoleic and 9.9% linolenic. The ash of burnt plants is used as a salt substitute.

Portulaca grows and flowers in summer and is a common and widespread weed of horticulture, paddocks and gardens.
Portulacacea is a widespread family of some 500 species of mostly succulent herbs. There are 43 species native to Western Australia and four probably naturalised ones. You don’t have record of the rest of Australia yet.

It keeps raining. It’s a good autumn. It’s the new moon today. Tonight you’re having field mushrooms.

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