Manna Wattle

Acacia is the largest genus of vascular plant in Australia, an edible wattle. There are 1200 species endemic to Australia. One of the variety is locally known as Manna Wattle (Acacia microbotrya). The Manna Wattle is a highly nutritious food rich in proteins and carbohydrates. Local Aboriginal people have used these and other wattle seeds for thousands of years as part of their seasonal, sustainable diet.

The Manna Wattle (Acacia microbotrya) is restricted to Wheatbelt and Goldfields-Esperance regions of Western Australia. It is tall and reaches height of 7 metres. It usually grows on gently undulating hills, alluvial plains or near granite rock outcrops from March to August. It produces bunches of tiny yellow flowers which will develop into a pod containing the tiny edible seeds. The hard outer shell means the seeds must be ground to produce a flour. Aboriginal women would use a Yandi or long flat dish to shake the ground seeds and separate the husks from the flour. The gum from the trunk are also eaten by Aboriginal and was later collected to sell to the Europeans who made glue from it.

The Manna Wattle was traditionally used by Noongar people. The seeds were ground into a flour which was mixed with water and formed into small cakes which were baked in the ashes. The seeds can be used both unroasted and roasted. Roasting changes the flavours to more mocha, hazelnut, making it perfect for flavouring biscuits, cakes and ice cream. The tree also produces an edible gum which was eaten by Noongar people.

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