Part 2 of Bush tucker plants and how to grow these Australian indigenous plants in your home garden.
Finger Lime (Citrus australasica )
The finger lime is one of many limes native to Australia. It is found naturally on rainforest edges and grows to around 4-6m in height. The bush is extremely prickly, so it’s a good intruder deterrent when planted close to windows or as a boundary hedge — but avoid planting it near walkways or children’s play areas. All native limes prefer a free draining soil with a slightly acidic pH of around 5.5 to 6.5. If drainage is a problem, the finger lime will happily grow in a large container. The juice of the finger lime is held inside hundreds of tiny round, cellular structures inside the fruit. These tiny balls become pressurised when the fruit is ripe, at which point they will spill out of the fruit if it is cut open. The flesh and skin of the finger lime is strong in flavour. The flesh is very refreshing when used in fresh juices, punches or even a glass of champagne. The fruit looks like caviar balls and is very attractive bobbing around in the glass. The flesh comes in range of colours; pale green (as per fruit featured above), pink (cultivar called ‘Rainforest Pearl’ that has exquisite, pale pink flesh) and red.
Finger lime can be used in sauces, jams, marmalades, savoury salads, and Thai cuisine — just about anything you would use traditional limes for, and more. It is excellent as a garnish and makes a fantastic accompaniment to fish and poultry dishes. Other native limes of interest are the round lime (C. australis) and desert lime (C. glauca).
There are several species of Davidson’s plum.
Davidsonia pruriens var. pruriens from northern New South Wales and north Queensland rainforests is the best-known species. The D. jerseyana species from northern New South Wales is also popular and is said to have particularly good fruit.
Davidson’s plum has dark purple, almost black skin and contains a vibrant, cerise-red flesh. Although basically pleasant-tasting, these plums can cause some rather interesting screwed up facial expressions when eaten raw straight off the tree, due to their rather tart and acidic flesh. Most people prefer to cook Davidson’s plums into a sauce that can be used in savoury or sweet dishes, or preserve them in the form of a tasty jam, jelly or wine.
The Davidson’s plum, which sadly is becoming scarce in its native habitats, is a slender tree, growing around 6-8m tall. The frond-like leaves are hairy and somewhat prickly and the new growth is a brilliant pink. Davidson’s plum prefers warmer climate zones but will tolerate cooler regions if protected from frost. The fruit appears in large clusters that hang down the tree after the delicate mauve flowers have blossomed in summer. They then ripen throughout the autumn and winter. Being a native rainforest tree, the Davidson’s plum is best grown in a sheltered, part shaded position in the garden with ample moisture and protection from damaging winds.
Did you know?
Most lilly pilly shrubs and trees bear edible pink, red or purple berries that can be made into a sauce, jam or jelly. I have found Syzygium luehmannii and S. oleosum are best for this.
Other bush tucker plants
Other bush tucker plants that can be grown in home gardens are macadamia nut, aniseed myrtle, hibiscus rosella, warrigal greens, native mint, cinnamon myrtle, Burdekin plum, native ginger, peanut tree, wattles, bush tomato, pigface, midyum berry, blue quandong, bunya nut, lemon aspen, brown plum pine, desert lime, dianella lily, mountain pepper.Part 1: Growing Aussie Bush Tucker Summer Colour with Native Daisies
A qualified horticulturalist for 20 years, I have and still do work in multiple areas within the industry. The famous Perrott’s Nursery, based in Brisbane was my first horticultural job, from here I then moved into teaching horticulture at Tafe. Over the past few years I have also enjoyed conducting Sustainability Workshops for various BCC libraries and have also started to make public appearances at various garden shows and plant fairs. My other passion in horticulture is writing. I write for various publications: Subtropical gardening magazine, About the Garden, The Local Bulletin (Brisbane west) and Earth Garden special publications such as Backyard Farmer and Chook Wisdom. Follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/clairebicklegardeningpages.