There are a number of species that bear the common name Kangaroo Apple,
but Solanum aviculare is of particular interest horticulturally. This
bush or small tree grows naturally on the edges of rainforest areas in
all the eastern states of Australia, including Tasmania and also in South Australia. It grows to approximately 4m tall and 5m wide.
The leaves of this plant are long and fairly slender and younger leaves
are often lobed. The large violet flowers with their bright yellow centres are very decorative and are borne in spring and summer. They are
followed by pendant fruits which are also very appealing. Similar in
shape to the tamarillo (Solanum betceum) which is in the same genus,
Kangaroo Apples turn from glossy green, to yellow to orange. The fruits
are edible, but one would be unlikely to seek them out. Having tasted
one I would not be particularly keen to line up for a second.
Apart from being an attractive plant, this bush/tree is highly tolerant
of harsh conditions. It seems to flourish regardless of frost, drought, wind and soil compaction. As a result, it has become a favoured plant
for revegetation work and for public open space plantings where
maintenance is minimal. This is an excellent plant for xeriscaping because its beauty belies its toughness.
This small tree is one of the most common trees around Townsville and
across large areas of northern Australia. It is the only member of its
genus in Australia, although there are a few other Planchonia species
through South-East Asia.
It grows to about 6 metres, has light brown, slightly corky bark and
fairly large broad leaves that turn bright orange before falling.
The flowers have many stamens around 6cm long, which are fused together
into a tube at their bases. The whole staminal bundle falls off as a unit.
Flowers are white, grading into a beautiful shade of pink inside towards
the base. The individual flowers are superbly ornamental, but the
flowering tree is seldom spectacular, as only a few flowers are usually
produced at a time.
Another reason why flowering trees are not readily appreciated is because
the Cocky Apple flowers at night. The flowers can be seen opening up at
dusk. They persist until the sun shines the following day, when the
staminal bundles fall off. They seem to be pollinated mostly by bats.
The fruit is edible, with a yellow flesh and the taste of a quince when
ripe. It was a widely utilised food for Aborigines.
The bark was extensively used as a fish poison. It was pounded and thrown
into pools of water, killing fish which could then be eaten without
ill-effect. The fish are killed by saponin in the bark. Saponin is also a
cleansing chemical. It can be used as a soap substitute. Aborigines used a
concoction made from the bark to clean wounds, such as burns and ulcers.
Many graziers don't think much of Cocky Apple because it tends to reach
pest proportions as a result of grazing or as regrowth after clearing. The
trees can regenerate so thickly that they significantly reduce the quality
of pasture and ease of mustering in many areas. It has thus gained itself
a reputation as a native woody weed.
Cocky Apples are related to Freshwater Mangroves (Barringtonia spp.).
Together, they are in the family Lecythidaceae, which is closely related
to the Myrtaceae (myrtle family). A fairly strong similarity can be seen
in the structure of Cocky Apple flowers and fruits and those of the larger
flowered species of Lilly Pilly (Syzygium), which is in the family
(Reprinted from "The Native Gardener", Newsletter of SGAP
Townsville Branch, August 1994.)
Davidsonia puriens var Jarseysna
Davidson's Plum. sour Plum, Ooray
Survival rating 2
Flower colour - pink-purple
Small slender rainforest tree 3m to 12m sometimes unbranched. Mature trees
form a clump of stems 4-6m high each with a crown of striking and
Fruits blue/black with some fine golden hairs (puriens means itching):plum
like, with a soft juicy red/purple flesh. Flattened seeds with fibrous
coats. Compound fernlike leaves. Large with 7-17 large strongly toothed
leaflets. Leaf axis with a large prominently toothed. Leaves and branches
hairy, may penetrate skin and cause irritation. Pink new growth. Small
pink flowers in long string like panicles appear in late summer. Fruit
forms in bunches in winter.
HABITAT/LOCATION/GROWING CONDITIONS: Warm sub-tropical rainforest,
riverine -Brunswick and Tweed Valleys and QLD. Or - Cooktown to Townsville
in wet to very wet rainforest - lowlands and uplands.
Prefers full sun (??) but will tolerate low light, prefers moist soil but
will tolerate a variety of growing conditions. Grows well indoors.
Regular mulching, fertilising, and watering will maintain its attractive
leaves and induce fruit in 3-4 years.
High water requirement. Protect from wind
EDIBLE HARVEST: Fruit - early new year. Pick with gloves and place in mesh
trauy and spray to remove hairs. Acid tasting fruit - jams, wine, stewing
with sugar, jelly distinctive and enjoyable taste for people who like
sharper taste in preserves. Can be dried and salted.
TRADITIONAL ABORIGINAL USE/OTHER USEFUL PARTS: fruit
OTHER FUNCTIONS: ornamental, cabinet timber
INTOLERANCES: doesn't like the cold (less than 10C) or extreme heat
PROPAGATION: Quick to germinate once flesh is removed from freshly
collected seed, Seeds must be protected from mice. Cuttings in autumn.
OTHER INFORMATION: When young makes an interesting container plant.
Flowering: Jan - June
Fruiting - Apr- Jul
From the Native Herb Group
A review by Andrew Pengelly
Several subspecies of D.viscosa exist - this review refers mainly to subsp.
Erect evergreen shrubs to 5m high, may be monoecious or dioecious. Leaves
linear-lanceolate, narrowly tapered at apex and base, entire margins,
glabrous, petiolate, 6-13cm long, 5-10mm wide. Flowers appear in spring,
on pedicels 3-9mm long arranged in terminal panicles. Sepals 3-4, petals
absent. Capsules, winged with a glabrous surface, cover the plant during
summer [Harden 1991].
Of the 68 species of Dodonaea, 61 are native to Australia. Dodonea viscosa
is widespread in eastern Australia, and also found in parts of Asia,
Africa and Central America. The subspecies angustifolia occurs in the
Americas, the Asia- Pacific region and from tropical to southern Africa [Ghisalberti
1998] as well as eastern Australia where it grows chiefly on slopes and
tablelands in dry sclerophyll forest or woodland.Part Used
Leaves, aerial parts, roots
Hopbush was used by Aborigines in the form of a root decoction for cuts
and open wounds. Leaves were chewed as a pain killer - they were often
used for toothache. In north Queensland the chewed leaves and juice were
applied to stings of stonefish and stingrays - they were bound to the
wound for several days [Cribb and Cribb 1981]. Leaves were used to
"smoke" newborn babies. Boiled root or juice of root were
applied for headache [Issacs 1987].Early European settlers were attracted
to the hop-like fruits and used them as an acceptable substitute for home
brewing. In Peru leaves have been chewed as a substitute for coca leaves.
In India a tincture was taken internally for gout, rheumatism and fevers.
A poultice of leaves was applied to painful swellings and rheumatic joints
- they reputedly retain heat for a long tome [Khory & Katrak 1981]. In
Pakistan the plant was used for a range of disorders including gout,
rheumatism, wounds, burns, snake bite, excema and skin ulcers [Ghisalberti
In South Africa D. viscosa leaves have been used as a topical antipruritic
for skin rash, and taken internally as a febrifuge and for stomach
disorders [Watt and Breyer-Brandwijik 1962]. In Africa generally,
infusions were used to treat pulmonary diseases including pneumonia and
tuberculosis as well as croup and diptheria [Ghisalberti 1998].
Leaf infusions and wood decoctions were used on Reunion Island as
sudorifics, while in New Caledonia a leaf infusion was used as a tea
substitute and as a febrifuge [Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987]. In
Madagascar the leaves were used for fever, sore throat and haemorrhoids.
In Mexico various preparations were used to treat inflammation, swellings
COMMON NAMES: Finger Lime
A small genus of about nine species, four of which occur in Australia and
are endemic. They are closely related to citrus and are thorny shrubs or
trees with acid, edible fruit.
Shrub, 1-6m high; leaves, branchlets and thorns all green and hairless.
Leaves narrow-elliptic to narrow rhombic, bluntly toothed, 11-4cm long.
Often notched at the apex, with numerous oil glands, aromatic. Thorns
numerous, stiff, up to 2cm long. Fruit green, finger shaped, up to 8cm
long, resembling a lemon when cut. Small-scented orange-blossom flowers.
Varies from dense to spindly.
HABITAT LOCATION, GROWING CONDITIONS: Dry rainforest and sub-tropical
rainforest. Common in regrowth north of Ballina to Mt Tamborine - found in
riverine, littoral or seasonally dry rainforest. Slow growing, tolerates
colder areas, hardy in sun or shade. Tolerates poorer soils provided they
EDIBLE PARTS: Fruit, with a pleasantly acid, edible juice. Can be made
into marmalade - this is ornamental as well as nice tasting, because the
sliced rings of fruit look like miniature cart wheels. When this fruit is
cut across the turgid pulp cells expand and separate pushing out of the 5
or 8 longitudinal segments as a cluster of small glistening 'peárls':
also made into vinegar.
Flower Feb - May. Fruit - May Sept (though mine began flowering in Oct!
TRADITIONAL ABORIGINAL USES: Fruit eaten fresh.
OTHER FUNCTIONS: Living fence;
PROPAGATION: Both seeds and cuttings may take many months to develop
A shrub or bushy tree to about 6 m tall with very prickly branches. The
narrow-oblong to obovate leaves, to 2.5 cm x 1 cm. are dark green with
slightly scalloped margins. Small, white or pink, fragrant flowers about
1.2 cm across are followed by cylindrical, greenish yellow fruit about 10
cm long. Ripe May-Sept.
Distribution: Endemic to south-eastern Qld and north eastern NSW.
Notes and Cultivation:
This species occurs in lowland and highland rainforests. Plants are almost
impenetrably dense and thorny. They are of interest chiefly because of
their unusual fruit which is tart but tasty when ripe and can be used for
drinks and marmalade. Trees are slow growing and will grow in sunny or
shady situations in well-drained soil. Once established plants are quite
hardy. They respond to the use of fertilisers.
Propagation: From seed, by cuttings which are slow or by budding onto
Variation: The var. sanguinea from Mt Tamborine has reddish fruit with
pink to bright-red pulp and pink flowers.
Citrus australis Trop-Temp.
Wild Lime. Round Lime Aug.-Nov.
Description: A dense shrub or tree to about S m tall with prickly
branches. The ovate to almost rhomboid leaves, to 5 cm x 1 cm, are dark
green and leathery, the margins shortly scalloped. White to pinkish,
fragrant flowers about 1cm across are followed by globular fruit 2-7 cm
across, greenish-yellow when ripe. Ripe Aug-Nov.
Distribution: Endemic to south-eastern Qld.
Notes and Cultivation: A common species often found along stream banks.
Plants are very bushy and prickly and are mainly of merest for their fruit
which can be used to make drinks or marmalade. Plants are very slow
growing and require shady or semi-shady conditions in moist, well drained
Propagation: From seed, by cuttings which are slow- or by budding onto
Citrus garrawayi Trop.-S.Trop.
Mount White Lime Aug-Dec.
Description: A shrub or bushy tree to about 6m with very thorny branches.
The dull-green, fairly thick-textured leaves, to 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, are
ovate to rhomboid, sometimes notched at the apex. White, fragrant flowers
about 1 cm across are followed by ovoid to cylindrical, roughened,
greenish-yellow, sticky fruit 5-8 cm long. Ripe Apr.
Distribution: Endemic to Mt White on Cape York Peninsula.
Notes and Cultivation: A rare species which has been introduced to
cultivation. Plants have limited ornamental appeal and are mainly of
interest because of the fruit which can be used to make drinks or
marmalade. Plants are very slow' growing and need protection when small
but they are hardy once established. They require free drainage and plenty
of water during dry periods.
Propagation: From seed, by cuttings which are slow or by budding onto
Citrus inodora Trop -S.Tro
Russell River Lime Aug.-Sept.
Description: A bushy shrub, to about 6 m tall, with thorny branches. The
dark-green, leathery leaves to 20cm x 10cm are broad-lanceolate with
shallowly scalloped margins. White to pink flowers about 1cm across are
followed by ovoid, yellow fruit about 6 cm long. Ripe Jan. Distribution:
Endemic to north-eastern Qld
Notes and Cultivation: A fairly rare species from near coastal areas.
Plants require shady conditions, plenty of water and organically rich,
loamy soil although they will grow in poorer soils. They are very slow
growing. The fruit can be used to make drinks or marmalade.
Propagation: From seed, by cuttings which are slow or by budding onto
Distribution: Semi-arid areas of all mainland states.
Common Name: Quandong;
Name: Santalum....from Greek, santalon, the Sandalwood tree
acuminatum....from Latin, meaning slender pointed, a reference to the
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.
Santalum is genus which extends beyond Australia. There are about 8
Australian species. The members of this genus are root parasites in that
their roots attach themselves to the roots of other plants and gain part
of their growth requirements from the host species.
S.acuminatum is probably the best known Australian member of the genus as
it is an important "bush food" in the drier areas of the
country. The plant has attracted a degree of commercialisation and
products derived from the fruits (jams, chutneys, etc) can now be
purchased quite widely. It is a large shrub or small tree to about 3
metres in height with simple, greyish-green leaves. The small white
flowers occur in clusters and are followed by 25 mm diameter fleshy fruits
which turn bright red when ripe. The seed within the fruit is protected by
a hard, woody shell. The seeds are spherical and around 10 mm in
Propagation and establishment of quandongs is a challenge, mainly due to
the parasitic nature of the plant.
Propagation by seed is the usual method but pretreatment is needed to
enable moisture to reach the embryo. One method used is to saw a nick into
the hard shell to expose the kernel and then to sow with the nick facing
downwards. Another method is to extract the kernel by placing the seed in
a vice and carefully cracking the hard coat. The seed needs to be sown
with a host plant such as native perennial grass, legume, herb, shrub or
prostrate species. Germination may take from 3-12 weeks.
When planting out, the quandong and the host should both be planted. While
quandongs are adapted to growth and survival in arid to semi arid
conditions, young plants must not be allowed to dry out.
Propagation by grafting onto seedling stock is becoming more common as
particular forms are selected for their desirable fruiting
Updated: Saturday 3 January 1998 by Brian Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Family: Lamiaceae Lindl.
Country of Origin:
Habitat: Description: Shrub, to 12 feet; leaves petioled, obovate to
orbicular, to about 3/8 inches long and wide; flowers in short, loose or
compact racemes on lateral branchlets, subtending leaves reduced, calyx to
1/8 inch long at flowering, 2-lipped, the lips about equal, entire,
corolla to 1/2 inch long, lilac.
Southern and southeastern Australia, including Tasmania.
Based upon: Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M. J. (1992 onwards). 'The Families
of Flowering Plants: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and
Information Retrieval.' Version: 19th August 1999. http://biodiversity.uno.edu/delta/.
Internet Resources for this taxon:
* Plants For A Future Website