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Plant identification guides:
Bush tucker food forest

Information about medicinal qualities of plants, or about their use as medicines, is for interest only, and is not intended to be used as a guide for the treatment of medical conditions.


As with all medicinal applications of Australian bush foods, please do your due diligence and consult with First Nations or other Australian herbal specialists before utilising as a remedy for any condition.


Some parts of the plant may not be edible or some may need preparation before they are safe to eat or use in any way. We do our best to describe their traditional & modern uses. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure they are fit for their intended use.


We can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Spanish Cherry

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Mimusops elengi

Medlar, Bullet wood, Red Coondoo, Tanjong, Bunga Mengkula, Mengkulah, Mengkulang



Spanish Cherry

Basic info:

This is a medium-sized evergreen tree found in tropical forests in South Asia, Southeast Asia and northern Australia, particularly the coastal areas of the Indian subcontinent, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Myanmar, as well as Northern Australia.

The tree is often found on coastlines because it can withstand salt-laden wind.

The leaves are glossy, dark green, oval-shaped. It flowers in April, and fruiting occurs between June and October. The flowers are cream, hairy, and beautifully fragrant.

The fruits are fleshy, range in colour between yellow and brown, and contain a large brown seed. The pulp has a yellow colour and it is edible.

Uses and Interesting Information:

This tree is highly sought after in garden collections because the trees give thick shade, the flowers are fragrant, the fruit is edible, it has uses in traditional medicine, and the timber is valuable.

The fruit can be eaten raw, preserved or pickled.

Traditionally all different parts of this plant, namely leaf, root, fruit, seed, bark and flower have been used to cure various kinds of disorders:

  • The bark is astringent, bitter and tonic. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery

  • The leaves are used to treat headache, toothache, wounds and sore eyes, and are smoked to cure infections of the nose and mouth.

  • The flowers have been used as a remedy against diarrhoea

  • The young fruits have been employed in a gargle for treating sprue

  • The pounded seeds are used to cure obstinate constipation

  • Chewing of the root bark strengthens the teeth and improves oral health.

  • an alcoholic extract of the bark has been shown to have anti-ulcer activity against experimental gastric ulcers.

  • It is also known to have anti-HIV and anti-fungal properties.

(Sources: Useful Tropical Plants; see also here: Roqaiya et al (2015), “A Review on traditional uses and phytochemical properties of Mimusops elengi”, International Journal of Herbal Medicine, vol 2(6), pp20-23, and here: Gami et al (2012), “Ethnobotanical, phytochemical and pharmacological review of Mimusops elengi Linn.”, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, vol 2(9), pp 743-748).

This tree has traditional uses in many cultures, for example:

  • In India, it is used in Ayurvedic medicine, treating snake-bite, tooth ache and as a contraceptive. The flowers are used as offering at temples, as they have a delicious scent that lasts for several days; the oil is also extracted for perfumes.

  • In Malaysia, the bark is used to treat pimples, fever and diarrhoea, and the leaves used to treat headaches.

  • In Indonesia, the leaves are smoked to relieve asthma, and the bark used to relieve itch, rheumatism and gonorrhoea.

The flowers are very aromatic and retain their fragrance for a long time after being dried. They are used as a filling in pillows, strung in garlands or necklaces for decoration, or placed in linen-cupboards.

An essential oil distilled from both leaves and bark can be used in perfumery. It produces dyes superior to synthetic products and the plants are used in bonsai.


  • Recipes to come

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