Edible Plants

This short letter was published in The Canberra Times in September 2016

In a Giveaway in June we asked readers to name their favourite trees with edible bits. That prompted forester and tree man Tony Fearnside to look through plots at Westbourne Woods in Yarralumla. He says, “pine seed is generally edible but the smaller ones (like Scots pine) are too resinous in taste for most. I was reminded of the experience in Nepal when we had specifically ordered good quality seed of the Chir pine (P. roxburghii) from Pakistan to plant. There was some seed left over but when the project staff went to collect it for planting in the following year, there was none to be found. The local nursery people had eaten it. Canary Island pine is closely related to Chir Pine, so its seeds would be edible too.”

For pesto, decades ago, seed of Italian stone pine (Pinus pinea) was always used. Now Cedars of Lebanon in Mawson has four varieties of edible pine seed and the most popular is the longer of two types from China.