Plant Elaeocarpus reticulatus (Blueberry Ash)


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Jun 5, 2011
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Picton NSW
Common Name: Blueberry Ash

Botanical Name: Elaeocarpus reticulatus

Distribution: all along the east coast from Fraser Island, Queensland down to Flinders Island, Tasmania

Field Notes: a large shrub or tree which can grow to a height of 15m. In NSW rainforests it can attain a height of 30 metres. Its most conspicuous features are white or pink cup-shaped flowers with fringed edges and round blue fruits. Strictly botanically, the fruits aren't actually real berries but drupes. Blueberry Ash also has leaves which turn bright red as they get older.
This is a hardy plant, and grows natively in eastern Australia under many conditions. It is descended from rainforest-like environments where it still grows in southeastern Queensland and eastern NSW but has shifted its range to include the drier climate of south-eastern Australia (its leaves have become harder for example). In New South Wales it grows in moist areas such as gullies and around watercourses as well as in tall Eucalyptus forests and sandy coastal scrub.

Uses: The small fruits of this shrub, 5mm in diameter, contain a large seed. When the seed is firm it is astringent and unpleasant to eat; as the seed softens the fruit develops a floury taste. The most flavoursome fruits are wrinkled and hang from the underside of the tree limbs. If the fruit is bright blue it can be eaten raw. This plant can be found in abundance. The best time to look for fruit is between May and October.

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