Monday, August 25, 2008

Marsilea drummondii, Nardoo

Marsillea drummondii, Nardoo
This unassuming small native water fern which has leaves not unlike a four-leaved clover, has an interesting history. The triangular shaped seed(spore) cases are edible and have a pleasant nutty taste.
Spore cases on Nardoo
This formed part of the last meal of the ill-fated Burke and Wills who perished at Cooper's Creek in 1861. The following quotation from Wills' Journal is taken from Brough Smyth's "Aborigines of Victoria"....."I cannot understand this Nardoo at all ;it certainly will not agree with me in any form. We are reduced to it alone,and we manage to get from 4 to 5 pounds a day between us ...It seems to give us no nutriment...Starvation on Nardoo is by no means very unpleasant but for the weakness one feels and the utter inability to move oneself, for ,as far as appetite goes it gives me the greatest satisfaction"

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