Alice Springs Desert Park

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Prized by Aborigines and early settlers alike, the Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) is a shrub or small tree that grows up to 5 m high. It has a rough dark bark and sometimes yellowish green leathery leaves, lanceolate, often curved measuring between 30-90 mm long and 3-12 mm wide.

Rich in vitamin C, the Aborigines ate both the sharp-tasting flesh and the kernel of the large stone, although there is a toxin in the seed that is removed by roasting, and appears to decays over time. There is also some evidence that the seed is used for medicinal purpose. The wrinkled looking seed case was also used in the game Chinese checkers. The early settlers made the fruit into jams, jellies and pies.

The fruit ripens between September to October, depending on rainfall.

Extreme care must be taken when identifying edible food plants and those used in bush medicine. Some bush foods are only edible at different stages of the plant cycle, or when treated appropriately. Bush medicine should only be used under the guidance of a qualified physician. Information here is only provided for research. You should always seek experts in the field to confirm the identification of the plant and whether they are edible or appropriate.

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  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Order: Santalales
  • Family: Santalaceae
  • Genus: Santalum
  • Species: S. acuminatum
  • Binomial name: Santalum acuminatum