Acid Drops: Leptomeria acida

This was a new discovery for me on a recent bush walk on  the northern  Illawarra escarpment, and even just looking at the images again now makes my mouth water…..yum sour berries, not everyones cup of tea but at the time after 5 hours of walking and with limited drinking water they were a very special treat!

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The berries are supposed to be eaten when they turn red, however we couldn’t wait and gobbled them up only partially ripe. The fruit was quite juicy and there was a delicious sour burst in your mouth like a very astringent lime. YUM!

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Leptomeria acida is a root parasite that grows in dry sclerophyll forest in coastal areas along the NSW coastline, it appears to be  a leafless plant that grows to between 1 and 3 metres high and wide. The true leaves have degenerated to microscopic scales making it resemble the leaves you find on Casuarinas and Callitris. The fruits contain reasonable levels of vitamin C and appear from winter through to spring. The common name of bush currant was widely used as the small fruits are about the size of a currant and the first Pioneers used them in the same way by making wild Currant Jelly.

The image above is of Leptomeria acida being harvested by hungry hordes in the blue mountains after walking the grand canyon, the prefect after walk treat. This is what I call a good harvest!

 

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