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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.

Peanut tree

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Sterculia quadrifida

Monkey nut, native peanut, red-fruited kurrajong, white crowsfoot, small flowered kurrajong, kuman

Family:

Malvaceae (same as cacao, hibiscus, cotton, okra & durian)

Peanut tree

Basic info:

The tree grows to a height of 30 m and has a spreading canopy.


The bark is a light-grey and the leaves are dark green and broad egg-shaped or sometimes heart-shaped at the base.


The tree is described as “almost deciduous”, meaning that in winter the tree does not lose all their leaves, but they do get “ratty”, and some are dropped.


Clusters of small, lemon-scented, cream-white flowers appear in the Summer, followed by hard green seed pods, roughly 8 cm long. These pods are ready to harvest when they turn orange/red and are starting to split. Pick them straight off the tree before they fully open.


These pods contain up to 8 black seeds that are edible and taste like raw peanuts, after the bitter, paper-like skin is removed - but don’t eat too many at once!

Uses and Interesting Information:

Indigenous Australians ate the nuts both raw and roasted, and also ate the young tree roots.[1]


The leaves of the Peanut Tree aren’t edible, but the sap was used in Aboriginal medicine to treat wounds and stings.


Almost all parts of the plant including roots, bark and leaves of species from the family are reported to show various medicinal properties. Various parts of the tree were used to treat eye sores, skin lesions, wounds, cuts, and nausea.[2]


The plant is part of traditional folk medicine in Indonesia, where it is used to treat hepatitis, rheumatism, and to recover stamina. [3]


Extracts from the plant have been shown to have antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antiviral, anti-tumor, immunomodulatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties.[4]


The fibrous bark was used to make nets.


NOTES:

[1] See Saragih & Siswadi (2019), “Antioxidant Activity of Plant Parts Extracts from Sterculia Quadrifida”, Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, Vol 12(7).

[2] Turpin et al. (2022), “Aboriginal medicinal plants of Queensland: ethnopharmacological uses, species diversity, and biodiscovery pathways”, Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 18, 54.

[3] See Saragih & Siswadi (2019), “Antioxidant Activity of Plant Parts Extracts from Sterculia Quadrifida”, Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, Vol 12(7).

[4] Rollando et al, (2020), “Potential and Therapeutic Use of Sterculia Quadrifina R.Br and Sterculia foetida Linn”, Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, vol 19(4), 325-334

Recipes:

  • Recipes to come

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