Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So Similar So Different

The Native Cherry Exocarpuos latifolius has a hard green seed sitting atop a sweet and luscious red fruit with prominent round leaves. The fruit is very editable.

A very similar plant Strychnos lucida the Strychnine Tree also has round leaves and orange coloured fruit but it contains strychnine. The round leaves have three prominent veins.

With the recent wet weather many plants are producing fruit. According to some sources the fruiting of these two similarly looking plants usually occurs at different times of the year. So in most years the fruiting season is an additional telltale to help avoid picking the wrong fruit.

Yesterday I met an indigenous family out looking for Hibiscus tree limbs for a fishing spear and they were also gathering Green Plum fruit. They were from Groote Eylandt and had relations living in Darwin. I was there foraging off the Green Plum and the Native Cherry. When I showed John the Native Cherry tree he did not seem too interested in it and it made me wonder if it is too much like Strychnine Tree or just didn’t grow on Groote Eylandt.


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