Apple Berry – Billardiera scandens – Bush Tucker Food
Billardiera scandens with the common name of ‘Climbing apple berry’ is reputed to be used as a bush food, eaten fresh or dried like sultanas.
Growing as a small scrambling shrub, it is most common along the coast of New South Wales in the foothills. The new foliage has a soft velvety appearance, fruit is in the form of a small berry, small rounded and oblong.
Flowers are a greenish yellow, trumpet shaped and appearing from winter through to early summer. The berries follow.
Also known as the ‘Sweet Apple Berry’, the taste is somewhat like apple with a hint of aniseed, and the fruit can be eaten fresh of cooked. It has been used as a bush tucker plant for 100s of years, and is also easy to grow.
This is an evergreen plant, and perhaps more truely a scrambler than a climber, however it is easy to train up a trellis.
Billardiera scandens are somewhat difficult to find in nurseries.
The natural habitat is in dryish forested areas, however in cultivation the preferred growing conditions are a humus rich, moist yet well drained soil and at least good morning sun.
In good conditions the Apple Berry will produce more flowers, more fruit and thicker denser foliage.
Usually from seed, although the germination process is slow and some sort of scarification treatment is generally required.
- Common Name – Apple Berry, Bomula or Karrawang.
- Botanical Name – Billardiera scandens
- Soil – Dry to moist soil, well drained.
- Position – Part shade, or afternoon shade.
- Foliage – Green.
- Flowers – Yellow and of a tubular shape.
- Flowering time – Spring to summer
- Growth Rate – Medium to fast.
- Height – To 1.5 metres to 3 metres as a climber.
- Root system – Non invasive.
- Spread – Clump forming to 1 m, less when trained as a climber
- Frost tolerant – Yes – moderate frosts.
- Drought tolerant – Medium
- Pruning – Generally not required.
- Only in colder areas (higher altitudes) does it grow well in full sun
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