Mark's plant of the week:
Lilly pilly (Syzygium australe)
A fast-growing evergreen native, also known as the bush cherry which is widely found across Australia.
The Tucker Bush variety is psyllid-resistant and in summer produces edible red berries that are apple-like in texture with a mild sweetness. They may be eaten fresh or made into jams, jellies, muffins, biscuits, cakes and wine.
It grows 3-4m high and 2m wide but can be easily kept as an edible hedge at 1m high. Prune regularly to promote new growth.
Deryn’s Plant of the week:
Plum pine (Podocarpus elatus)
Illawarra Plum is also known as the Daalgaal, Goongum or Plum Pine. Its juicy, pulpy fruits have a grape-like texture and sweetish, mild pine flavour that is enhanced by cooking.
It is a rainforest species endemic to the east coast of Australia.
Illawarra Plum fruits are made up of two segments – a hard inedible seed (1cm in diameter), and a large, fleshy purple-black berry (2.5cm in diameter). They ripen between March and July, and are eaten raw or made into a jam or jelly. When cooking with Illawarra Plums, stainless steel utensils are recommended over aluminum to prevent bitterness.
Fruits may be picked from the tree, but will also fall to the ground when ripe. This species is/dioecious/, meaning you’ll need both male and female trees to produce fruit so plant several or use as a hedge.
Illawarra Plum grows in full sun and part shade and prefers a rich, moist, non-alkaline soil, but will tolerate a range of well drained soils and coastal positions.
It grows slowly and can be kept in a pot to reduce its size. In the ground it can reach 8 – 12m in height.