Plant of the Month: December 2013

SWEET APPLE-BERRY

 (Billardiera cymosa)

(Photos: http://biocache.ala.org.au/biocache-media/dr691/17395/a2d533e4-9a34-41f1-bffe-844e149635f7/Billardiera_cymosa_ssp._pseudocymosa_flowers_&_leaves_501386_311011_DW.jpg; http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5052/5488696358_7dd031dc28_o.jpg)

 

Named after Jacques de Labillardiere, a French botanist who visited Australia, this plant can be seen twining its way through low growing bushes on the coastal reserve at Cape Jervis. It’s not a very tall or invasive climber, and would look pretty in a home garden, maybe on a trellis.  The leaves are fairly narrow, and the flowers are bell-shaped, with five purple petals. These occur in groups of about 7 at the end of the branches. The mature fruit are edible; their tiny black seeds have an aniseed flavour, with over-ripe ones being sweet to some palates. Ripe ones that fell to the ground used to form part of Indigenous bush tucker. Edible fruit and easy propagation are two more reasons for growing them in your coastal garden!

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