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Burchardia umbellata facts for kids

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Burchardia umbellata
Burchardia umbellata.jpg
At Anglesea Heath
Scientific classification

Burchardia umbellata (milkmaids) is a perennial herb native to woodlands and heath of eastern and southern Australia, known in all states. It typically flowers from September until November, in dry sclerophyll forests.

Size and shape

The narrow leaves of Burchardia umbellata are up to 60 cm long by 1.5 to 4 mm wide. Clusters of white or pale pink flowers with reddish centers sit atop a thin stalk that is 50 to 60 cm high. Each flower measures about 2.5 cm wide. There is a cluster of up to ten carrot-shaped tubers at the base, each about 5 mm thick.

Use as food

Aboriginals eat the potato-like tubers. The tubers can be eaten raw or cooked. They are white, fleshy, crisp, and starchy, with a nondescript flavor.

Origin of name

The genus Burchardia is named for German botanist Johann Heinrich Burckhardt. The species name umbellata is Latin for "umbrella", referring to the umbels of flowers.


Burchardia umbellata is rarely available in nurseries, but it can be propagated by seed and kept in containers. It requires moist, well-drained soils and sun or light shade.

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