Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi all,

Does anyone know what this is? Is it edible? Is it related to elderflower? It's a small shrub, looking quite a bit like elderflower, but obviously not that.

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Looks a bit like a curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii). If so it gets quite big and can be a bit weedy - as in suckering and birds spread the seeds. I keep mine in a pot and treat it roughly.

Yes it does. Look here for confirmation.

Spot on! I was so interested in the fruit that I didn't think to sniff the leaves. I went back today to take a cutting and collect some seed. The Internet says the fruit are edible, so I tried some. They are actually quite good - sweet and pulpy, although with a large seed and an unpleasant spicy aftertaste.  

Further research reveals that they're a pretty weedy plant. They are related to orange jessamine, among other things, and the seeds are eaten by figbirds and distributed in bushland.

Keep it in a big pot and keep it trimmed. First sign of flowering, snip! Sounds like it needs some overseeing so it doesn't set seeds.

Yes, and I'm in a rental, so definitely not in the ground, where the next tenants may not be so careful.

All good advice as once its in the ground it very hard to control - it gets very big as I've seen on a permaculture property in northern NSW. I've been growing it for a year or so in a pot and I make sure I remove all the berries before any birds find them. But apart from that a good addition to making Dahl.

I'm going to give it a go, but given what people have said, I also think I'll be able to find one in the area that I can raid when required. Gardening is good, but foraging is better.

Where do you go foraging Rob or is it your secret place. I would love to forage for berries. There used to be a lot beside the streams in Beaudesert, don't know if they are still there.

The fruit I gathered were from near Park Road train station in Woolloongabba, but it's a small bush, so now that I know what I'm looking for I'm going to have a look in my local area.

Curry leaf has been a staple in cooking my whole life. Strangely in all that time I'd never thought to eat the fruit/seeds until I read on a forum 15+ years ago that 'someone had read the seeds were poisonous' yet I couldn't find any ACTUAL info on it, then for some reason I suddenly really wanted to taste the fruit.  So thanks Rob for not dying in the process of clarifying that it's not deadly!

As for growing it I'd recommend a pot if you're worried about spread. I had one in a 300mm pot thrive for a decade with a lot of neglect and harvesting 3-4 times a week from it. When it died I just got a few suckers from my parents as their 2m in ground 30yr old plants have heaps of little guys shooting up. Mine are struggling at the moment in the tiny pots while they wait but I can always easily get more if they cark it. I'm going to put it in a raised dedicated bed near the kitchen to minimise it's spread but be readily available. I have noticed some strains are stronger in flavour than others too.

Your chicken diaries are most amusing Cres :)


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