Southern Grasstree growing in Milarri Garden.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
Baggup (Woi wurrung), Tarndang or Dan Dan (Gunaikurnai)
Botanical name: Xanthorrhoea australis
The roots are eaten and the nectar on the white flowers, when soaked in water, can produce a sweet drink. The resin can be used as a sealant for manufacture of tools and other artefacts, and was used to fix spear or axe heads to shafts. It is also a useful leather tanning agent. The flowering stem can be used as a fire stick and for the manufacture of spears.
In post-colonial times, Southern Grasstree resin found a variety of new uses. These include the manufacture of gramophone records, as a mahogany stain, floor sealant, church scent, and a component in making explosives.
Grasstrees are found in grassy open habitats of Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia.
This striking plant is slow-growing-each metre of trunk takes about a century to form-but old Southern Grasstrees can reach several metres in height. They like well-drained soil and tolerate dry conditions once established, recovering well after fire. It has dense white spires of flowers from July to December. This species can be susceptible to Phytophora cinnamomi (cinnamon fungus).