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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.

Scaly Ebony

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Diospyros geminata

Queensland ebony, Native ebony, Iron tree


Ebenaceae (same as persimmon)

Scaly Ebony

Basic info:

The Scaly Ebony is a slow growing native tree inhabiting dry coastal rainforests and scrubs along the coastal and near coastal areas of eastern Queensland. A small tree, usually not exceeding 4-6m in height, with a slender stem of about 15 cm.

The leaves are broadly oval, 3-7.5cm long, with a blunt or rounded apex, often tapered to the base. They are leathery to stiff, with a waxy appearance, with a dark green colour above and paler beneath.

It has a dull black, hard and fissured bark which is scaly in mature trees.

The fruit is an oval berry 8-12mm x 6-8mm, which starts off yellow but then ripens to orange/red. The fruit is held in a prominent cup-like calyx, which is sometimes paired, hence the name “geminata”, meaning “twins”.

Uses and Interesting Information:

The fruit is edible; it is astringent when unripe but sweet and ‘pleasantly edible’ once the fruit has turned orange red. There are trials in New Zealand using this species as a rootstock for persimmon.  

Although this isn’t one of the species traditionally used for furniture-making, it is a true ebony (Diospyros), and its timber has most of the same properties. Ebony is a dense and heavy wood. Because of its almost black colour, its durability, hardness, and its ability to take a high polish, it is used for making a variety of items including bagpipes, the tuning pegs, fingerboards, tailpieces and chinrests for violins and other stringed instruments, black chessmen, the black keys on pianos and harpsichords, crucifixes, and pistol grips. It is a very difficult wood to carve because of its hardness.


  • Recipes to come

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