© Copyright 2000 Teaching Treasures Publications

Balga is a grass-like tree. It is also called a common blackboy or a balka. These trees had many uses for the Aboriginal people. The gum from the flowering spike was made into cakes! Bunches of dried leaves were used for the roofing of their huts and also for tying on sticks to burn for a torch. The flower stems were also used for starting a fire. Bardi grubs were collected from the trunks of the dying balga trees.

picture of grass trees

grass trees

Some native people (Aborigines) would knock the tops of the balga tree and the tree would die. Within a few months grubs could be harvested, these would be eaten raw or roasted. Balga grows in a wide range of soils and it is distributed from Kalbarri to the South Coast, Western Australia. The long tall flowers come out in January and flower until November. These trees may reach up to five metres in height, the flower is about three metres tall. The tree has one or more clumps of long, slender leaves. At the ends of these leaves they have a sharp point, like a pin. 
The trunk of this plant is often crooked and may have two to ten branches off one trunk, each having a clump of spiny leaves. The clumps of spiny leaves are called crowns. On each crown there is only one tall green flower stem. The flowers are at the tops of the stem and there are thousands of tiny white flowers which make up one large flower.

Scientific name for balga:

grass tree leaf stems


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© Copyright 2000 Teaching Treasures Publications