Plant of the Month — March 2016
Podocarpus drouynianus F.Muell. — Wild Plum
Podocarpus drouynianus (Wild Plum) is a resprouting, coniferous shrub with separate male and female plants (dioecy). The purple, fleshy ‘fruits’ (female cones) are complex structures equivalent to, but very different from, pine cones — they comprise fused, fleshy scales attached to a fleshy stalk and bear a single, naked seed near the apex. The cones are produced abundantly after fire and, although flavourless, were eaten by Indigenous Aboriginal people as a dietary supplement (Noongar name: Koolah).
Podocarpus drouynianus is endemic to Western Australia’s south-west region and is the State’s sole representative of the family Podocarpaceae. This family is an ancient group of gymnosperms that were found on the super-continent Gondwana and are now predominantly distributed across the southern hemisphere.
Photo: R. Davis
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