My Own Bush Tucker Tree
Saturday, 05 May 12 Sunny 28°C / 82°F
The definition of ‘bush tucker’ would be: any edible, native Australian flora and fauna that was present before European colonisation which was harvested or hunted in the bush by our country’s original inhabitants … the Aborigines.
I have a ‘Bush Tucker’ tree in my courtyard that is native to the eastern coastal strip from northern New South Wales to far north Queensland … and up into Papua New Guinea.
The seeds were used as food by the Aboriginal people. The bark was used to weave baskets. The inner bark of this tree was also important to them as a source of string, which was used for rope, fishing nets and fishing line.
This tree is commonly called the ‘Peanut Tree’ – Sterculia quadrifida. It grows to a height of 5 -10 metres and has a spreading canopy, dropping it’s leaves during Winter, towards the end of its flowering.
Around my area of north Queensland the Peanut Tree can start to shed leaves in May … which is the end of Autumn … and will start developing its fruit. The leaves will then begin to regrow after the tree has fruited … usually around August to September, which is the end of Winter into early Spring.
Right now, my Sterculia quadrifida tree is finishing flowering, dropping its leaves, and beginning to fruit. The fruits are clusters of large, leathery, boat-shaped pods up to 8 cm long which, change from green to an eye-catching orangey-red at maturity.
At the red stage the fruit splits open to reveal black seeds about the size of a peanut. The seeds are edible and are supposed to taste like peanuts … never tried them myself! … but for those who do wish to try them, it’s recommended that the seed coat or testa should be removed first. Birds, on the other hand, enjoy them ‘au natural’!
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