Trachymene incisa

Native parsnip

Family: Araliaceae

Trachymene incisa is a small plant with a small edible tap root, known as native parsnip. It was formerly in the Apiaceae family, which includes carrots and parsley, but is now in Araliaceae.

It has divided, parsley-like leaves about 5–10 cm long.

Small white flowers are produced in a head (umbel) on top of a long stalk, about 30–40 cm above the foliage. It flowers in spring.

Plants last 1–2 years, with some plants dying off and others reseeding.

It grows naturally in sclerophyll forests and woodlands in NSW (from Ulladulla north) and Queensland, typically on sandy soils. It has a mainly coastal distribution but extends into the tablelands and western plains of NSW.

In the garden

It needs to be mass planted to make an impact, but can be used as a low border in a cottage-style garden or in pots. The tall flowers are eyecatching and have a tinge of pink amongst the white. Harvesting the root to eat will obviously kill the plant and won’t provide much of a meal on its own.


Grow by seed. It seeds prolifically, so dig up and pot on any seedlings that come up around the plant.

Other information

Look for it in speciality native nurseries.

It can be observed regenerating from taproots after fire.

Trachymene – is from the Greek trachys (τραχις) meaning rough and mene (μηνη) meaning moon – referring to the rough moon-like appearance of the fruit.

incisa – is Latin for cut, referring to the cut appearance of the divided leaves.

Not known to be at risk in the wild.

By Rhonda Daniels