Microseris lanceolata

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Microseris lanceolata
Murnong plant2.png
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Cichorioideae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Microseris
Species: M. lanceolata
Binomial name
Microseris lanceolata
(Walp.) Sch.Bip.
  • Galasia lanoeolata Sch.Bip.
  • Galasia scapigera Sch.Bip.
  • Krigia chilensis Nees
  • Krigia pinnatifida Bertero ex DC.
  • Krigia pusilla DC.
  • Microseris pygmaea Raoul nom. illeg.
  • Phyllopappus lanceolatus Walp.

Microseris lanceolata is a perennial herb also known as murnong and yam daisy.[2]

It is found in many forms in southern and eastern Australia (Victoria, NSW, ACT, SA, WA and on the island of Tasmania),[2] the Tasmanian form being markedly smaller than the mainland Australian form. A related species occurs in New Zealand, Microseris scapigera, recognised now as the correct name for plants there. In Australia that name was used earlier.

Biological descriptions[edit]

A variable species, it has the form of a tufted rosette of toothed lanceolate leaves.

The flower stalk is notable for its curious behaviour: pendulous before flowering, it becomes erect for flowering, lifting the flower to the attention of pollinators, then becomes pendulous again until the seed head ripens, at which time it becomes erect again, exposing the seed head to the best possible wind exposure. The 'flower' is a yellow head of florets, reminiscent of a dandelion. The seed heads ripen to a cluster of fluffy, tan achenes, each having a crown of fine extensions called a pappus. Seed dispersal is by wind.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

The species has edible tuberous roots and was once an important source of food for peoples of Australia. The introduction of cattle, sheep and goats by immigrating early–colonialist Europeans led to the near extinction of Murnong {{Citation needed [3]|date=February 2017}}, with calamitous results for first Australians’ communities who depended upon Murnong for a large part of their food. Murnong was prepared by roasting or pit baking; the taste is described as "sweet with a flavour of coconut".



  1. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 1 July 2016 
  2. ^ a b "Microseris lanceolata (Walp.) Sch.Bip.". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 4 Mar 2013. 
  3. ^ Flora of Victoria, Volume 4, page 702
  • Gott, Beth (1983). "Murnong - Microseris scapigera: A study of a staple food of Victorian Aborigines". Australian Aboriginal Studies. 2: 2–17. 
  • Gott, Beth (1987). "Murnong — a Victorian staple food: some nutritional implications.". In Graeme K. Ward (ed). Archaeology at ANZAAS. The 54th Congress of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, May 1984, Section 25A: Archaeology. Canberra: Canberra Archaeological Society. pp. 111–114. ISBN 978-0-9588625-0-9. 
  • Incoll, L. D.; Bonnett, G. D.; Gott, Beth (1989). "Fructans in the underground storage organs of some Australian plants used for food by Aborigines". Journal of Plant Physiology. 134 (2): 196–202. doi:10.1016/s0176-1617(89)80055-0.  (Congress: International symposium on fructan. 1 1988)
  • Gott, Beth; Conran, John (1991). Victorian Koorie plants : some plants used by Victorian Koories for food, fibre, medicines and implements. Hamilton and Western District Museum. Yangennanock Women's Group, Aboriginal Keeping Place. ISBN 0-646-03846-X. 
  • Zola, Nelly; Gott, Beth (1992). Koorie plants, Koorie people : traditional Aboriginal food, fibre and healing plants of Victoria. Melbourne: Koorie Heritage Trust. ISBN 1-875606-10-6. 
  • Gott, Beth (1993). "Use of Victorian plants by Koories". In Foreman, Don B.; Walsh, Neville G. Flora of Victoria. 1. Melbourne: Inkata Press. pp. 195–211. ISBN 0-909605-76-9. 
  • Cahir, Fred (2012). "Murnong: Much more than a food". Artefact: the Journal of the Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria, The. 35: 29–39.