Plant notes: Kangaroo apple

Colourful but toxic. The ripe fruit of kangaroo apple takes on a yellow or reddish colouration..
  • plant suitability for our climate
  • how plants would benefit people and their environments
  • multiple roles for plants — food, windbreak, habitat, fuelwood, environmental modification, psychological, aesthetic etc
  • where to best locate the plant in a planting plan
  • any cautions such as toxicity, irritability, potential for spread in ecosystems.

Kangaroo apple

  • Australia, New Zealand
  • found in NSW, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania.
  • large shrub to 2m high by 1.5m wide
  • lanceolate-shaped or irregularly lobed juvenile leaves 300 mm long by 250 mm wide and smaller generally entire lance-shaped adult leaves 150mm long by about 30–50mm wide
  • five-petalled purple flowers 30–50mm spring and summer.
Kangaroo apple growing in Tasmania. The shrub occurs over a range of climates.
  • seed
  • full sun
  • well drained moist soils; range of soil conditions
  • tolerates frost but not drought.
Flower of kangaroo apple
  • food —when ripe fruit is orange to red it is said to be edible if cooked; ONLY RIPENED FRUIT is edible fresh, raw or cooked (see CAUTION below).
  • windbreak understorey
  • screen plant
  • erosion control planting
  • young foliage of some varieties contain a series of steroids which are of commercial value as raw material for the manufacture of contraceptives (Source: Australian National Botanic Gardens, Wikipedia).
Cluster of ripening fruit and lanceolate leaves.
  • unripe kangaroo apples are toxic and bitter, containing the toxic alkaloid solasodine
  • all parts of the plant are poisonous.



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Russ Grayson

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.