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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.

Burdekin Plum

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Pleiogynium timoriense

Tulip plumb, Sweet plumb


Anacardiaceae (Cashew/Mango family)

Burdekin Plum

Basic info:

Native to Australia, Malaysia and the Pacific Islands, this close relative of the Mango is a tropical rainforest tree.

Though it is a rainforest species, it is incredibly hardy and drought tolerant. In the wild, it may also occur naturally on sand dunes behind mangroves and in dry sub-coastal regions along the northeast coast.

It is an attractive tree with glossy green foliage and a dark grey trunk. It has a dense canopy growing to about twenty metres in height but often smaller, making for a lovely shade tree.

Flowering usually occurs between January and March, producing small, yellowish-green blooms that develop into fruit over the winter months.

Like most Anacardiaceae, they are dioecious (two-sexed), so require separate male and female plants in order to produce fruit.

Fossils found in central Queensland show that these trees have been growing in Australia for millions of years.

Uses and Interesting Information:

Fruits are large, black, round (some call them “pumpkin-shaped”) and contain a large stone, similar to plums commonly found in the supermarket – however they are not related to common plumbs at all, being rather part of the mango family. The fruit is edible and pleasant when fully ripe, although often “tart” and suitable for preserves.

Harvest the fruits when they start to show signs of ripening, but don’t eat them straight away! They are hard and acidic straight off the tree and need to be stored for a few days. Aboriginal horticulturists were known to bury the fruit underground to assist with the ripening process. Early settlers apparently buried the fruit in brown paper bags for a week to enhance ripening.

Joseph Banks, on his voyage to Australia with Captain James Cook, collected some of the fruits when they stopped in the Endeavour River, and he made the note:

"These when gathered off from the tree were very hard and disagreeable but after being kept for a few days became soft and tasted much like indifferent Damsons" (Low, Tim (1991). Wild Food Plants of Australia. Sydney: Collins Angus & Robertson. p. 89.)

They may be eaten raw, cooked into jams, used to flavour meat, or fermented into wine.

The fruit has been identified as being exceptionally high in antioxidants (nearly 5 times the antioxidant content of blueberries), with a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effect, as well as specifically good as a medicine for ovarian cancer. (Johnson et al (2022), “Identification of phenolics responsible for the high antioxidant activity in Burdekin plum (Pleiogynium timoriense) fruit”, Food Chemistry Advances, 1)

In Indigenous times, the bark and roots of the tree were used as a ‘fish poison’ for the purpose of stunning fish, in order that they float to the surface of the water for easy capture.

Burdekin Plum produces a close-grained, fine-textured timber which is highly prized but not commonly available. It has been used for cabinet making, walking sticks, smokers pipes and batons of music conductors.



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