The Quandong Santalum acuminatum is a small evergreen tree related to the Sandalwoods, native to the southern parts of Australia. It is a root parasite on other species, and thrives in arid areas on well drained, sandy/gravelly soils.
Flowering is from late spring to mid-summer. The small flowers, 0.6cm in diameter and borne in clusters, are light green to cream on the outer parts, with the centre generally a burnt orange colour. They are attractive to a number of pollinating insects including native and European bees, various wasp and fly species, and ants.
Fruit ripens around August / September. The developing fruit is green or yellowish green, then turns bright red on ripening. A tree loaded with ripe fruit is a remarkable sight.
The mature fruit are globular and vary considerably in size, from 2-4 cm diameter. It consists of a generally thin layer of flesh over a large, deeply pitted stone. Some selected varieties have a better flesh / stone ratio.
Fruit can suffer rain damage, and infestation by caterpillars of Quandong moth Paraepermenia santaliella (Gaedike).
The trees are relatively pest free but scale insects can be a nuisance. Psyllid species will sometimes infest the new growth.
The fruit is used in pies, preserves and jams. The kernel within the stone is also edible.
Quandong Blossom, Northern Foothills
Ripe and ripening fruit
Fruit with good flesh / stone ratio
Quandong fruit moth damaged
Quandong fruit rain damaged