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Issue 15 - Spring 2000

CSIROReport from WA - 1997

Bushfoods - Opportunities and challenges

Is this three year old report dated? Have things changed?

A Background on Bushfoods:

The Australian bush foods industry is a small sector of the rural community producing, processing and marketing a range of native Australian foods.

Interest in bush foods in Australia has increased considerably in recent years, and several potential market sectors have been recognised. Bushfoods feature on the menu in many Australian restaurants, especially in the Eastern states. They are also attracting significant interest from overseas tourists (expected to increase in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics), and processed, dried and frozen bush foods are commanding high prices as a boutique style product in specialty food stores and department stores. A potential export market opportunity may also exist.

Bushfood Production

These attractive market opportunities are tempered by a lack of knowledge about the suitability of some bush foods for human consumption. Research into nutrition and toxicity of bush foods is currently being carried out by the CSIRO and RIRDC, however results are expected to take some time Research is also required into market potential, production, storage and transporting, for both domestic and international markets.

At this stage we have extremely limited information on the problems likely to be encountered by bushfoods growers with insects and fungal diseases, and research is required into the safe use of insecticides and pesticides on bush plants.

Western Australia has a large range of native plants which may be suitable for commercial production, however significant research is required to take the industry from its current position of reliance on bush collection to a position of cultivating crops with a commercial


The eastem states of Australia have a relatively well established bushfoods industry and are responsible for the majority of bushfood products.

The industry at this early stage is also inhibited by a lack of infrastructure. Currently, bush foods are collected, rather than cultivated and harvested. Some bush foods cannot be transported fresh and processing facilities at the place of collection are usually limited. A bushfood industry which initially relies on ecotourism and “farm-gate” sales therefore could be a viable opportunity.

How can the New Industries Program Help?

The New Industries Program is currently involved with researching the development of the Bush Foods industry in South Australia, which is relatively advanced, to understand how best to assist the Western Australian industry.

Report compiled by Kellie-Jane Pritchard

Quandong - Some Questions - and Answers

From the Australian Quandong Industry Association Inc

PO Box 236 Upper Sturt

SA, 5156

Q Does a Quandong tree require another tree nearby to survive?

Ans: The Quandong is a semi-parasite. And requires some type of host for normal growth, this can be a grass, shmb or tree.

Q How much water does a Quandong tree need?

Ans. They survive in the wild in very low rainfall (25Omm per annum ). If you want to have fruit

every year water will be required

Q What is the time span between planting, and the first crop?

Ans. Seedlings-3-5 years, grafted-2-3 years.

Q Are there any known pests for Quandong fruit?

Ans Yes, the Quandong moth is a real problem but can be controlled by spraying. It is hoped to

find a better way to control this pest in the future.

Q How much fruit does a Quandong tree produce?

Ans This is very variable and depends on the tree, age, fertilisation and water regime etc. It can vary from 1- 10 kg per tree.

Q What is the selling price for fruit?

Ans At the farm gate for average quality fruit, per Kg. Fresh S8.00, frozen stoned $18.00,

dried stoned $54.00

Q How long will a Quandong tree live?

Ans In the wild they are 40-50 years old.

Q Can you grow a Quandong tree from seed?

Ans. Yes but there is no guarantee that it will produce the same quality as the fiuit from where the seed came.

Q What kind of soil do Quandongs like?

Ans Free draining alkaline sand or soil.

Q Do fertillsers need to be applied to Quandong trees?

Ans. Small quantities of high nitrogen and low phosphorus can be used.

Q When do Quandong trees fruit?

Ans Broken Hill start August, Port Augusta start September. Season lasts 6-8 weeks.

Q What kind of damage are Quandongs susceptible to?

Ans In some instances, rain, frost, hail and grub.

Q How do you store Quandongs?

Ans. Remove stone and dry or freeze. Dried fruit lasts for years.

Q Market for fruit?

Ans. AQIA does not sell fruit but does have a list of members who can supply fruit. At the moment there is a ready market for Quandongs.

Q Where can we buy Quandong trees?

Ans. AQIA can supply a list

Q Have the seeds any value.

Ans. They contain Santalbic oil, about which very little is known. The kernel has a nutty flavour

which is quite attractive.Eating large quantities is not recommended until tests have been con-


PepperA little Pepper

from Lee Etherington

Hello All,

Spent Easter in the Barrington Tops and was amazed to find thousands of the broadleaf pep-

per bush (Tasmania?) in fruit. Tasmannia lancelota (including an interesting dwarf bush) and Tasmannia insipida were also found in the region but in dilferent circumstances and were not in fruit. I was surprised to see so many berries per tree in such a cold (sub-alpine -1500 metres ASL) environment. Have attached a pic to show you a typical fiuit density/size per plant. After sampling many from different bushes I decided that I preferred the berries of T insipida as they tasted better and were less dry/fiberous in texture. Seeds were hot, but not as hot as the other two varieties that I have tried, leaves were also hot, hotter than T insiprda but not as hot as T lanceolata.

We camped one night under a Kangaroo apple tree, which was also in fruit. Native elder berries, wild grapes and Hibiscus heterophyllia were also found regularly. If anyone would

like more info or pics, email me.

Mt Barrington is in the National Park, so you cannot collect berries there, but there were plenty

of fruiting trees in the adjoining State Forest


Lee Etherington (B.Sc)

Operations Manager

Local Focus Nature Tours

Ph: 02 4567 7000

Fax:. 0245 677 800


Essential oil Isolates from some Backhousia species

(From E.V. Lassack and I.A. Southwell)

Backhousia anisata Isolate = trans-Anethole 2
Part of plant = leaves and terminal branchlets
Oil yield% = 0.3
Isolate in oil % = 60
Isolation procedure = freeze crytallisation
Use flavouring, perfume
Backhousia citriodora Isolate = Citral 14
Part of plant = leaves and terminal branchlets
Oil yield% = 0.3-0.6
Isolate in oil % = 95
Isolation procedure = bisuplfhate extraction
Use perfume, starting material for synthesis of ionones and Vitamin A
Backhousia myrtifolia Isolate = Elemicin 25
Part of plant = leaves and terminal branchlets
Oil yield% = 0.1-0.08
Isolate in oil % = 80
Isolation procedure = fractionation
Use None at present
Isolate = Isoelemicin
Part ofplant = leaves and terminal branchlets
Oil yield% = 0.1-0.04
Isolate in oil % = 70
Isolation procedure = fractination
Use none at present
Isolate = Methyl isoeugenol 47
Part of plant = leaves and terminal branchlets
Oil yield% = 0.1-0.05
Isolate in oil % = 70
Isolation procedure = fractionation
Use perfume, flavouring



By Kris Kupsch
Diplo - two or double, glottis - throat (referring to the flowers)
The majority of plant enthusiasts would be aware of the this group of plants. Most of the native tamarinds have large, hairy leaves which are most attractive, especially when in new growth.
The natural distribution of this genus ranges from the Illawarra region in southern NSW with a specie occurring along the ranges in central Cape York with outflyers in New Caledonia and Malaysia.
In cultivation, they tend to be quick growers if given most, well drained soil and freedom from heavy frosts while immature. The decorative, edible fruit are an added appeal to their notable ornamental qualities.
Most species are available from native plant nurseries though supplies could be small.
Tamarind is a well known name throughout the world, which possibly originated in India and refers to a tree which is totally unrelated, being Tamarindus indica. The seeds are use din dishes throughout the tropics, many of these trees can be seen around Townsville and Cairns, often being planted near settlements.
Bernie's Tamarind - Diploglottis berniana
Distribution: Occurs in wet tropical rainforest below 600m, common between Innisfail and Cooktown in NE Queensland.
Tree habit: it has the largest leaves of all the Diploglottis, one leaf I found in NE Qld was 1.7m long. Usually a single trunked tree while young, it branches after a considerable time. Grows to 25m in forest but probably to 8m in southern areas.
Fruit: large crops of hairy, brownish-orange fruits with an orange aril. Larger than D. cunninghamii, although similar. Fruit ripe around January - late summer.
Cultivation notes: a fast-growing tree with incredible horticultural potential. Trees are intolerant of strong wind, low humidity and exposed conditions. Trees are doing well under cultivation in full sun at Cairns. responds well to fertiliser and ideal conditions.
Growth records: Jan 1996 - 35cm
Aug 2000 - 3.1m
Boonjee Tamarind
Diploglottis bracteata
Distribution: occurs in dense, tropical rainforest below 750m, between Cairns and Innisfail extending west to the Atherton Tablelands in NE Qld
Tree habit: an upright, bushy, fast growing tree to 30m. Leaves are large and grey-green in colour. Trees seen at Babinda are very large, often notices by the fruit on the ground. Trees from the Tablelands tend to have smaller leaves.
Fruit: very large orange fruit up to 10cm across, usually in three segments. Ripe in November, often in large numbers in good years. Trees can fruit when small, under 3m.
Cultivation notes: a fast growing species when grown in moist soils. Does best in full sun to part shade. Buttress showing on a six year old tree. Highland stock better suited to southern climates.
Growth rates/records: Jan '95 - 45cm
Aug 2000 - 6m

Small leaved tamarind
Diploglottis campbellii
Distribution: occurs between Tintenbar (NNSW) and Currumbin Creek (S Qld). rare in the wild being found in about a dozen locations. The climate is sub-tropical and grows naturally below 300m. (please not that D. campbellii is considered rare and endangered and purchases of this plant should be from suppliers having a certificate.)
Tree habit: a forest tree to 25m, trees in full sun grow to around a third of this height. The trunk is fluted and attractive, trees develop a dense canopy down to ground level. Old seeds litter the ground. The leaves are the smallest of all the Tamarinds.
Fruit: The colour may vary from deep red to orange or yellow. Large fruit, usually 3-celled up to 75mm across, splitting open whilst on the tree. The fruit ripens February - March over some weeks. Trees can produce heavy crops. (Ed's note - in the Maleny, SE Qld, area, the fruit seem to be smaller - more often 30mm wide).
Cultivation notes: moderately fast growing if given a complete fertiliser in moist soil. personal experience shows that continued growth occurs if the roots are never constricted.
Growth rates/records: Aug 1994 - 10cm
Aug 2000 - 4.7m
Native tamarind
Diploglottis cunninghamii (syn. australis)
Distribution: occurs between the Illawarra region in Southern NSW to the Mackay/Eungella area in Qld. Reports indicate that it occurs around the Proserpine area although this could be D. obovata. It is found in lowland and highland rainforest where there is fertile soil.
Tree habit: usually a tall, straight tree up to 30m. Can be a dominant tree with a bushy canopy of large, dark green leaves. It possibly has the largest leaves of the sub-tropical Australian trees (apart from Davidsonia and Hicksbeachia).
Fruit: a two or three-celled, hairy, orange to yellow small fruit with an orange aril covering the seed. The flesh is very acid and relished by birds. Large trees produce huge amounts of fruit, littering the ground below. Fruit ripen in November on large spikes.
Cultivation notes: can be fast growing if given plenty of water, light and mulch, Can be grown in full sun. Excellent feature plant for any 'Aussie garden'.
Growth records: May 1993 - 22cm
Aug 2000 - 3m
Wild tamarind
Diploglottis diphyllostegia
Distribution: occurs from Cape York to central Qld in all rainforest types., most often in dry rainforest below 900m. Common around Cairns and the Tablelands in NE Qld.
Tree habit: a fairly squat, bushy tree around 12m. Large, furry leaves with decorative white flowers in May. The interesting trunk is a host for lichen.
Fruit: the colour varies from orange to yellow and fruit is produced in abundance, often bending the branches over. Fruit have been collected in August, although reported until December. Birds favour this fruit. Trees crop well in southern areas.
(Ed's note - I find the juice of this fruit superior to that of both D. campbellii and D. cunninghamii, being tarter and 'more interesting')
Cultivation notes: a fast-growing tree suited to a wide range of conditions, as long as moisture is provided in dry times. Will grow happily as far south as Melbourne. Similar in appearance to D. cunninghamii but different!
Growth record: Feb 1993 - 25cm
Aug 2000 - 5.5m
Cape York Tamarind
Diploglottis macrantha
Distribution: occurs in central ranges of cape York Peninsula. More seasonal rainforest with a marked monsoonal period.
Tree habit: a small tree with large, furry leaves, being attractive in new growth . Can be multiple trunked, especially if burnt! Plants at Cairns are fruiting at 2.5m high. Possibly doesn't grow too tall.
Fruit: similar in size to that of D. cunninghamii and also orange. the 2cm wide fruit ripen in September.
Cultivation notes: I have only recently secured some trees, it being very are to find. It is grown only by enthusiasts at present but this is sure to change. It does grow well in the sub-tropics, although slowly. Best in a sunny position out of reach of frost.
Dryander Tamarind
Diploglottis obovate
Distribution: occurs in the vicinity of the Dryander National Park and possibly the Conway ranges, east of Proserpine in Qld. A restricted plant growing in gallery forest close to the coast.
Tree habit: a bushy tree to 10m in cultivation. Develops an attractive appearance which has potential as an ornamental tree as far south as Sydney.
Fruit: a small, green fruit similar to D. diphyllostegia with a yellow aril. Can fruit when young.
Cultivation notes: a fast-growing tree with attractive leaves. Limited numbers in cultivation. Worthwhile addition to a native garden.
Growth records: Aug 1995 - 50cm
Aug 2000 - 4.5m
Palmerston Tamarind
Diploglottis sp. Palmerston Gorge
Distribution: a 'new' discovery, so far being fond in the vicinity of the Palmerston Gorge area, west of Innisfail, NE Qld. Occurs in luxuriant lowland and foothill tropical rainforests, which is often misty and very wet.
Tree habit: a dense tree to 20m. The large leaves, up to 1m, have more leaflets than any other tamarind, up to 30 per leaf. Bright red new growth is attractive and so is the fruit.
Fruit: produces large, orange fruit with a yellowish or white aril. Yields are high, often covering the ground, keeping the Cassowaries happy! Similar to D. bracteata.
Cultivation notes can be grown in full sun to part shade, likes moist, humus-rich soils. Fast growing, producing a solid, single trunk branching sparingly while young.
Growth records: Dec 1997 - 90c,m
Aug 2000 - 4.7m
Pedley's Tamarind
Diploglottis pedley
Distribution: restricted to the area west of Innisfail in the North Johnstone River catchment. Grows in very wet, dense rainforest at fairly low altitudes.
Tree habit: an understory tree, often very slender and leaning at an angle. Usually a bare stem with a tuff of growth on top. Trees often multi-trunked. Grows to 8m.
Fruit: large capsules to 10cm across, ripen in May with a fluro-orange aril, which is very acidic. Usually three-celled and conspicuous on the forest floor.
Cultivation notes: a moderate growing tree to 5m in cultivation. Adapts well to lower rainfall areas with high moisture levels. Handles full sun when established but does better in the shade. A very ornamental feature plant, mainly a collector's plant at present.
Growth records: Jan 1996 - 50cm
Aug 2000 - 3.3m
Smith's Tamarind
Diploglottis smithii
Distribution: occurs between Innisfail and Cooktown at elevations below 450m. Grows in wet to very wet tropical rainforest. Many trees along the Palmerston Highway , south of Millaa Millaa, NE Qld
Tree habit: this Tamarind is a must, it produces large, grey-green to lime new growth. Grows straight up at first, for some years before branching, eventually forming a bushy crown. grows to 20m in the forest.
Fruit: Smith's tamarind develop copious quantities of large fruit with an orange aril. they ripen in December. The fruit are very acidic and just edible fresh.
Cultivation notes: a superb garden plant, away from the house so as to avoid the mass fruiting. Grows very fast in moist soils. Tolerates light frost - will grow well in Sydney. Does best in full sun with protection from dry winds. Usually available from rainforest nurseries.
Growth records: Feb 194 - 30cm
Aug 2000 - 7.5m
Happy planting!

A note on fertilisers:
Kris uses a fertiliser called Nitrophoska, more usually used on bananas and macadamias.
If you're growing organically, he suggests that possibly seaweed and chicken manure.
Hyland, B. and Wiffin, T. (1993) Australian Tropical Rainforest Trees, CSIRO Publications, Melbourne.

Down on the farm...

farmDoug Brownlow

Greetings from (just outta) Brisbane. We have a 2 hectare block in the foothills of the D'Aguilar Range, north west of Brisbane, just 22 km from the city centre.
We have about half our block under 9 species, including 30 round lime and 28 Lemon Aspen. We also have lemon and aniseed myrtle, both Davidsonia spp and Athertonia diversifolia. A few Tamarind and some 40 Riberry.
Some reflections on all that might interest you. We planted in early 1996 after advice from Vic Cherikoff and Russell and Sharon Costin from Limpinwood Gardens Nursery in the Numinbah Valley. At that stage, and even now, predictions, speculations, guestimates, etc about markets all seem to be just that. Sourcing stock and cultivation techniques are the easy/accessible aspects to the industry. We successfully marketed our early Lemon myrtle but that market has dried up. We now sell all our plums and our Aniseed myrtle via Vic Cherikof with whom we negotiate contracts.
The Marketing: It seems to me the industry is still developing and there are no ready, large scale, readily accessible year-round markets for even all the mainstream crops. Last year there was a southern cordial manufacturer looking for large quantities of Lemon aspen (600 kg I think).
No one could fill the order so the offer died. I think Sammy Ringer knows the story here.

The Limes : We went for the round lime on advice from the Costins. Last Christmas Vic again endorsed that decision so we can expect to find our market with him (all things being equal...which they're not in this game !)
We had a first crop late last year (i.e. 3.5 years). It was small, sporadic and the fruit were not large or juicy. I refrained from stripping the young fruit (advised for normal citrus for the first 2 years) to simulate the natural progress. While I've not spoken with her for some time now, Erika
Birmingham from NSW is a well established and most credible grower-producer-user of finger limes. I'd recommend you contacting her for information and even stock.

Lemon aspen : this seems to be a (fairly) well established product with a definite market for juice...I've even seen it bottled and on display 'somewhere'. I believe this is one of the most promising crops. I sourced our stock from Yuruga nursery on the Atherton Tableland and it grows from cuttings which is an advantage. We've not seen any sign of flowering yet and
don't expect to for another 2-3 years. Meantime, I plan to manage the tree shape with pruning; and as it fruits only on new wood, pruning will need to be essential to its management.

Hope the above helps..most of it is my rambling from discussion, experience, speculations etc. If you're not already, I'd recommend you get in touch with Sammy and join the Qld Bushfood Association. Any networking is critical to our success.

Best wishes for you and yours and keep in touch.

From the Editor

Aromats - Essential, Sensual and Sublime

Thoughts On the'Industry body'

Native Food Production in SA

Report from WA

Quandong Q&A

A little pepper tale

Essential Oil Isolates from Backhousia

Feature - Diploglottis

Down on the farm

Sell before you sow, Part II

Organic Notes

Comment - Larry Geno

How do you say that?

Bushfoods go French


Bird/Butterfly Bushfoods

Some thoughts on the industry - Brian King

From the papers

From the 'List'

Backhousia anisata

Diversification Workshop



Early collectors - Banks

More on DOOR

Potting Mixes for Bushfoods

Pest control

ANPI Fact Sheets

Somewhat useful page

Get up-to-date info at Bushfoods magazine online