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.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Russ Grayson

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