'DAALGAAL' ILLAWARRA PLUM (Podocarpus elatus) Seeds
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Illawarra Plum is also known as the Daalgaal, Goongum or Plum Pine.
Podocarpus elatus is an evergreen tree with a dense, dark-green crown; it can grow up to 40 metres tall.
This tree is a common rainforest species endemic to the east coast of Australia.
The tree does not have cones like other conifers but instead have a single seed attached by a fleshy stem to the branch.
Trees are moderately tolerant of frost but as for all rainforest trees, are most susceptible when young.
A fast-growing tree, it takes 8 - 10 years from seed to reach sexual maturity. A dioecious species; both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Bush food: Pulpy fruits have a grape-like texture and sweetish, mild pine flavour that is enhanced by cooking. Illawarra Plum was considered one of the best bush foods by both Aboriginals and early settlers.
Fruit ripen between March and July, and may be eaten raw ormade into a jam or jelly. They’re often used as a compliment for chilli, garlic, sauces and marinades, preserves, muffins, cheesecakes and fruit compotes.
Fruits may be picked from the tree, but will also fall to the ground when ripe.
Bush medicine: The unripe fruit of these trees was eaten to combat gastric complaints.
Germination: The seed can be sown at any time of the year in a sandy soil, Germination usually takes around 4 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until large enough to plant out.