AUSTRALIAN NATIVE FRUITS "FOCUS SERIES"

  • The information below is part of the "FOCUS" series research by RIRDC

RECIPES

  1. Quandong & Rhubarb Pie
  2. Mark's Quandong Pie with mixed berries & custard

 

focus on

QUANDONG

Santalum acuminatum

Part of an R&D program managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Overview

The quandong is a small native shrub or tree that grows 2-6 metres high. It produces a visually appealing yellow-to-red, tart tasting, dry-textured fruit with slender pale green leaves. Quandong is also known as desert peach, native peach or wild peach. Quandong has a wide natural distribution throughout southern Australia from arid desert areas to coastal regions. It was an important native food source for Indigenous Australians across semi-arid and arid regions in the mainland states, with surplus fruit collected and dried for later consumption. Amongst the male members of Central Australia’s Pitjantjatjara people, quandongs were considered a suitable substitute for meat. Quandong was a welcome food source for early white settlers and the name quandong was one of 400 aboriginal words adopted into English from the Wiradjuri languages of south-western New South Wales in 1836. The quandong has outstanding anti-oxidant capacity, high levels of folate and vitamin E, and is a good source of magnesium, zinc and iron.

 

The mature quandong prefers bright sunlight and low relative humidity. It will grow in a range of soil types, but prefers a higher pH and some selections can grow in highly saline conditions.
 
Soils should be well-drained as quandongs will not tolerate waterlogged soils as they are susceptible to root disease.
The plants grow wild in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria and are found in smaller numbers in Queensland. In the Northern Territory,  quandong populations have been in decline due mainly to the impact of feral camels, and the plant has been listed as vulnerable.
 
The species is semi-parasitic, attaching to the roots of a variety of different host plants in the wild, including acacias, allocasuarina, bluebush and saltbush, to extract water and nutrients. Quandong production has decreased signifcantly from its peak in 2001, when total harvest was estimated at 25 tonnes. A third of this came from commercial plantings, with the remainder from wild harvest. Drought and feral animals have had an impact on wild populations, while orchards have suffered diffculties with drought, pests, diseases, cessation of a dedicated industry association (Australian Quandong Industry Association) and low survival rates during the establishment phase.
 
Current production is estimated at around seven tonnes per year, 90 per cent of which is from cultivation. Commercial plantings have occurred widely across most of South Australia, some with participation from Indigenous communities, as well as in New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

 

For more information

 

This fact sheet is one of a series summarising Native Foods R&D from 2007 to 2012. In a partnership between government and industry, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and Australian Native Food Industry Limited (ANFIL) are working towards an innovative, pro table and sustainable Native Foods industry.

Australian Native Food Industry Limited (ANFIL) was formed in 2006 and is the peak national body which represents all interests in the rapidly growing Australian native food industry. ANFIL has taken the lead in working with industry, governments and other organisations to determine and prioritise research and market development strategies to progress the industry.

web: www.an l.org.au email: info@an l.org.au

Australian Native Food Industry Ltd 3866 Channel Highway Woodbridge Tasmania 7162 Australia

The Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) is a statutory authority established to work with industry to invest in research and development for a more pro table, sustainable and dynamic rural sector.

Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation Phone: 02 6271 4100
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
web: www.rirdc.gov.au

Disclaimer: Whilst every care has been taken in preparing this article, neither RIRDC nor the authors accept any responsibility or liability for decisions or actions taken as a result of any data, information, statement or advice, expressed or implied, contained in this article. Readers should make their own detailed inquiries and obtain professional advice before making any commercial decisions based on information contained in this article.