The fruits and aromatic leaves of the tropical and subtropical rainforests of Eastern Australia provide a whole new palette of spices, fragrances and flavours for the adventurous cook. These uniquely Australian flavours, merged with the creativity stimulated by living in a multicultural society, readily give rise to an endless array of culinary innovations.
It’s surprising how many of these plants are frequently included in regular landscapes, native gardens and public plantings in parks and streetscapes in Sydney and further south; some are quite frost hardy.
Most of our subtropical bush foods come from rainforest understorey environments; sheltered, frost-free microclimates with dappled shade. In the garden these understorey plants will grow successfully under the canopy of taller trees or in protected areas close to the house where they receive some shade throughout the day or are less exposed to frost. It’s also surprising how well many rainforest plants grow in full sun, and more sunshine definitely increases yields of fruiting plants.