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.
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.
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.