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Non-seasonal plant foods in the palawa (Tasmanian Aborigine) diet: 1: the Yam Daisy Microseris lanceolata (Walp.) Sch.Bip

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Macphail, MK and Woodward, D 2017 , 'Non-seasonal plant foods in the palawa (Tasmanian Aborigine) diet: 1: the Yam Daisy Microseris lanceolata (Walp.) Sch.Bip' , Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, vol. 151 , pp. 11-18 , doi: 10.26749/rstpp.151.11.

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Abstract

The tuberous roots of the Yam Daisy/murnong Microseris lanceolata were a staple plant food for Indigenous peoples in Victoria and New South Wales. In contrast, although the Yam Daisy occurs in Tasmania, it is not recorded as being eaten by the Tasmanian Aborigines (palawa) although fossil Liguliflorae pollen indicate that this perennial herb was growing here before European occupation in 1805. Unlike in Victoria up to the 1840s, as yet, there is no fossil evidence to show the species was sufficiently common to make a significant non-seasonal contribution to the palawan diet. However, assuming an adequate supply of the tubers, the palawa could have obtained energy from the modest content of simple sugars (via glycolysis) and its substantial content of fructans (prebiotics, converted to absorbable fatty acids by gut bacteria). Its sweet taste at certain seasons may have encouraged seasonal consumption. Recent research suggests that fructans may have health benefits, e.g., improved immune function; however, it seems improbable that the palawa specifically recognised those benefits

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Macphail, MK and Woodward, D
Keywords: Indigenous non-seasonal plant foods, Tasmanian Aborigines, palawa, Microseris lanceolata, Yam Daisy, murnong, fossil pollen, carbohydrates, fructan, inulin
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
ISSN: 0080-4703
DOI / ID Number: 10.26749/rstpp.151.11
Copyright Information:

Copyright The Royal Society of Tasmania

Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
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