The Temperamentally Fruiting Plume Pine: Podocarpus elatus

I am always excited when I get to taste a new bush tucker food, these Australian native plant foods seem to get a fairly bad rap when it comes to flavour and usually I am pleasantly surprised when something ends up being quite palatable and occasionally delicious! Therefore it was fantastic to find a Podocarpus elatus, the Illawarra Plum Pine in full fruit a few weeks ago in the bush behind Perkins Beach.

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Apparently this tree doesn’t really have a regular fruiting season, to say the least it is a bit unreliable. However, here this huge specimen was so heavy with fruit that the wind had knocked many of them down and there was literally a carpet of blue plums around it base.

Many native birds will feast on the plums including Green Catbirds, Wompoo Fruit-Doves and pigeons, and parrots will feed on the seeds.

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Above you can see us (Illawarra APS Group) scavenging on the ground for fruit, don’t worry we didn’t take more than 5%. The tree next to us is the Plum pine, it gets to be a reasonably sized tree up to 30 metres tall.
Now the fruit, the purple fruit are grape-like with a sweet juicy pulp which is quite slimy, if you can ignore the salivary texture then the flavour is truly like a mild plum. To top it off it is a beautiful tree, it could be kept as a hedging plant and has lovely  contrasting dark and lime green foliage.

One thought on “The Temperamentally Fruiting Plume Pine: Podocarpus elatus

  1. Jill M on

    Thanks for identifying this tree. There is a prolifically fruiting one in the Botanic Gardens near us in Frankston, Vic and I have been searching for its name and whether it’s edible!

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