The Quandong is valued by the Aboriginal Australians as good bush tucker. With its unique flavour and high vitamin C content this fruit has earned itself a place in the cuisine of all outback Australians.  The arid lands of Australia are home to this tree but you no longer have to brave the sand  and flies to experience the Quandong.  Innovative arid land horticulturists are now growing and producing fruit from managed plantations.  This fruit is good enough to take it's place alongside the other exotics on the Australian and international markets.

The Quandong  ( Santalum acuminatum )

Quandongs grow well in a managed plantation. Under irrigation growth rates of 3m have been recorded in three years. After all to a Quandong irrigation is a good year every year! Fruit crop and fruit quality respond to the good year every year syndrome as well. Soil type and water quality appear to be irrelevant to the growth of the quandong. This may have a lot to do with the parasitic nature and necessities of this tree. Research conducted by Ms Beth Byrne at the Waite Institute, Adelaide Uni has shown that a Quandong can get all of its water and nutrient from a host plant. The best host plants are surface rooted, water storing, nutrient hungry plants. This includes all acacias, casuarinas and olives as well as many other trees and  shrubs. The host tree's ability to withstand mineralised water and poor soils may be the reason for the Quandong's perceived abilities. From Beth Byrne's research we know that the Quandong can get enough of an Azedaractin like chemical from hosting on a White Cedar [ Melia azedarach] to stop the quandong  grub from attacking the fruit This must now make us aware that Quandongs grown in association with  mammal harmful plants could be risky to eat.

The best fruit is a rich red in colour with a white or cream flesh. The flavour is determined by the balance of acid, tannins and the unique Quandong flavour. Describe a good red wine and you will come close to  describing the Quandong. Balance of components is all important.  The fruit is primary processed immediately it is picked by drying or freezing and then secondary processed into an enormous range of products.


Santalum acuminatum Santalaceae

Sweet quandong , wild peach

The name Quandong is believed to be Aboriginal.  A native of WA, SA, Vic and NSW it is adaptable to most dry well-drained soils in an open sunny position and is drought and frost resistant. An evergreen shrub, it grows to a height of 3 m with a spread of 2 m, stem is erect with a densely textured crown. The leaves are pale green, thick, oval-acuminate and 7.5 cm long; the flowers are white and small; the fruit are red berries 3 cm across. Propagation is by seed, but a host is needed in the plant's early stages.

From Bodkin, Francis

Encyclopaedia Botanica 1995

ISBN O 207 15064 8 

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Not all Quandongs are  small trees. This one is 25 years old and an estimated 9 metres tall. Is this Australia's largest Quandong?