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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Stannus

The cherry on top!

Whilst the tomato season has been pretty 'lame', we made one surprise edible discovery this week that put a smile on our faces.

Whilst taking our post-lunch walk around the dam one work day last week, Ludovic came across a small, red fruit on the ground and told me that he had found a 'berry'. Taking a closer look, I realised that it was a fruit along with its swollen pedicel that had fallen from a nearby Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis).

Upon this discovery I decided that we should skip work, well at least for 30 minutes, and visit one of the more accessible Native Cherries on the block to see if it too had these edible treats on it. And it did!

A person picking fruit from a native plant in Tasmania
Ludovic picking 'fruit' from the Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis)

This hemi-parasitic plant is notoriously difficult to propagate as it needs a host to support it. Luckily though, there are plenty of these trees on the bush block where we live. However, trying to access the 'fruit' is the tricky part. You really need to be a cockatoo to get to the higher branches. They are known to enjoy this delicious snack. Luckily we were able to beat them to it this time.

A man picking fruit form a native plant in Tasmania
The 'fruit' is easy enough to pick when it is on the lowest branches

The fruit is actually a small hard, green nut. The edible part of this plant is not the fruit itself, but the swollen red pedicel (stalk) attaching the fruit to the plant. Both come of rather easily from the tree.

A man holding the fruit of an Exocarpos cupressiformis in northern Tasmania
Ludovic holds the swollen pedicel (red) which attached the fruit (small, green) to the plant. The pedicle is the edible part.

The swollen pedicles are best eaten fresh as a snack. Ludovic is thinking of making a jam combining the Native Cherry and the Native Currants we harvested last weekend. There will be a bit of work involved removing the fruit from the pedicels to get enough yumminess to do this. Stay tuned to see how he goes!

Fruit and swollen pedicels from the Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis)
A small harvest from the Native Cherry this time

In the meantime, if you are interested in knowing what edible species you may find on the Apple Isle, check out NRM North's Edible Native Plants of Tasmania. This handy guide is a visual reference and includes a list of nurseries who grow and stock these plants.

A bientôt!


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