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Fruits

Acronychia  acidula  

Lemon Aspen  

Photo from 'Rainforest Plants' by Nichols

Family

Rutaceae

General notes:

Small (cherry sized) pale lemon coloured fruit with a unique sharp citrus flavour. Found in rainforests from Sydney to the far north. This tangy, yellow, citrus-flavoured fruit comes from a rainforest tree and is as versatile as the lemon.

Edible portion:

Fruit

Harvest period:

Jan-Aug (also quoted as June-July, April- Sept)

Yrs to maturity:

3-4

Form:

Shrub to medium tree (4-8m) Quoted to 18m - likely in rainforest conditions:

Natural Distribution/Growing conditions:

North eastern Queensland. Rainforest, particularly highland. Naturally from Cooktown to Mackay but grown much further south.

Climatic/microclimatic conditions:

Tropical-subtropical. Will tolerate both full sun and semi shade (suggested that full sun increases fruiting.)

Management reference:        

Berry fruits. A hardy plant

Traditional Aboriginal Use:

Fruit eaten.

Density:

275/ha

Yield at maturity:

Unknown

Harvesting:

Shake and collect or hand pick. Pole pickers.

Supplied as:

Fresh (local distribution only at this time), as a frozen whole or as a juice.

Typical value adding:

Jams, jellies, sauce, juice. Whole lemon aspen fruits or just the juice can be used in pastries, desserts, sauces and marinades and the pulp from juicing can flavour shortbread or be further infused to extract its unique flavour. The fruit glaces particularly well. Excellent in curds and salad dressings. It is suggested that the leaves can also be used for flavouring.

Current purchasing price:

$6-$10/kg (depending on season and ease of supply)

Perceived demand:

Good - needs work

Research also:

A. oblongifolia (Common achronychia), A. imperforata (Coast aspen), A. wilcoxiana and A. suberosa. 

From the RIRDC Report

Cultivation of Native Food Plants in Southeastern Australia 
A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 
by Maarten Ryder and Yvonne Latham 
January 2005 RIRDC Publication No 04/178 
RIRDC Project No CSL-11A 

Lemon aspen seems well adapted to surviving, growing and having a generally healthy green appearance in a wide range of environments. Despite the limited fertiliser application, these plants are not showing signs of deficiency. Establishment and early growth have been quite reliable. 
Flowers have been observed at several sites, but fruit set has only been seen at one trial. Being a fruit crop, we may need to know more about the pollination mechanisms and requirements of this species to be able to ensure reliable cropping. 
The average vigour of lemon aspen has been rated moderate to very good. This plant is the most susceptible to insect attack of all the species in these trials. We have not identified what the particular pest/s is/are but these problems have generally not been of great concern to the overall health and vigour of the plant. Lemon aspen also appears to be affected by a hyperplasia (witches’ broom) which has developed more obvious symptoms at some locations than others. 

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Australian Bushfoods magazine

 

 
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Australian Bushfoods magazine