Disclaimer on edible or medicinal plants

I have taken utmost care to ensure that what I have written about is accurate, particularly with regards to edible or medicinal plants.

However, I cannot and will not claim responsibility for incidences of people following in my example of using any of the plants I write about for food, beverage or medicine.


That being stated, there are a few guidelines I recommend before ingesting any plant:

1. Make sure you know the plant. NEVER ASSUME. If in doubt, do not use the plant, or at least find an expert, perhaps from the Hobart herbarium, to give you a positive identification of the plant before using it.

2. Some plants need processing or cooking before they can be eaten. Make sure you know what to do with the plant, or the various parts of the plant, or don’t try. Also, see Point 1 again.

3. Ensure to the best of your ability that the site where you are harvesting plants or plant parts is not contaminated. I wouldn’t eat any plants growing right beside the road or from a disused tip! When harvesting water plants, ensure that the water source is not contaminated or just play it safe if you can’t be sure.

4. You might consider doing an edibility test if you simply must eat a plant. But still, I’d go with Point 1 before I do anything.

5. Don’t self medicate on plants unless YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.


6. Be careful when harvesting some plants. Sedges have edges and trust me these edges are sharp. Nettles sting well – not an experience I will wish on anyone. Use gloves.

7. Make sure that you are not collecting a threatened plant. For that you may refer to the list in the DPIW website. Also, see Point 1 again.

8. While tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica, Cyathea spp.) and grass trees (Xanthorrhoea spp.) have edible parts, harvesting kills the plant. There is no justification for killing these slow growing plants just to try them out in this time and age unless you are in an emergency. Also, know that Dicksonia tree fern harvesting is regulated.

7. Keep a record of what you have tried or not. It might come in handy.

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