Changing Perspectives in Australian Archaeology, part X. There is likewise a nut. . . a comparative ethnobotany of Aboriginal processing methods and consumption of Australian Bowenia, Cycas, Lepidozamia and Macrozamia species
As a result of research throughout tropical Australia, much is known concerning the various techniques Australian Aboriginal peoples used to remove toxins from Cycas seeds prior to consumption. However, comparatively little is known about the methods used to process Macrozamia seeds and if they are regionally or genus specific. This paper describes the methods used to process different Macrozamia species, as recorded in Aboriginal and historical accounts throughout the eastern, central and southwestern parts of Australia. A comparative ethnobotany of the processing methods and food uses of the four genera of cycad found in Australia: Bowenia, Cycas, Lepidozamia and Macrozamia, is then presented. This review confirms that although there are many similarities in processing techniques and uses between these genera, there are also important differences, including variations in processing methods partly related to water availability, regional differences in the parts of the plants which were consumed, and contexts of use between different areas of Australia.