The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Yam Daisy
Microseris scapigera is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.30 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Australia - New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. New Zealand.
Grassland and open places on North, South and Stewart Islands in New Zealand[
]. Loamy soils or moist clay up to the montane and sub-alpine zones in Australia[
]. Also found on salt pans[
We do not have much information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors at least in the milder areas of the country. The Australian form is said to be hardy to at least -7°c in Australian gardens[
], though this cannot be translated directly to British gardens due to our cooler summers and longer colder and wetter winters. Plants are likely to require a well-drained soil in a sunny position.
This is a polymorphic species that is found in both New Zealand and in Australia. Some botanists have separated off the Australian form as a distinct species, M. lanceolata[
], which is here used as a synonym.
An alpine form in the Snowy mountains of Australia has fibrous roots too thin to be worth eating[
The plant has been suggested for commercial cultivation in temperate zones for its edible root[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. Sweetish and moist[
] with a coconut flavour[
]. The root tastes like a sweet potato with an occasional hot taste[
]. It is said to be delicious[
]. The root is between 2 and 8cm long[
]. A favourite food of the Australian Aborigines, who ate the roots in quantity[
]. The root can be harvested all year round but it tastes bitter at certain times of the year, especially in early winter[
Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in early spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Division in spring might be possible.