We’re always on the lookout for a seed, fruit or flower to assist us in identifying species in the Conservation area and recently Brett and I noticed this Wild Quince. Our friend Les and a Native Plant facebook group assisted us in the identification, this plant is edible and will be added to the Native Food Forest species list.
Growing – Wild Quince (Alectryon subcinereus) is a small to medium tree ( to 15m) with leaves of six leaflets and a toothed edge near the tip. Flowers are pale pink, very small and appear from Spring to Autumn. The shiny black seed enclosed in a bright red fleshy aril within the green fruit capsule is what caught our eye.
Propagation – Propagation from fresh seed, can be erratic and birds assist by spreading seeds after eating the red aril.
Harvest – In July and August
Eating – The bright red aril is fruit is edible and according to Save our Waterways is sweet with a dry after taste.
Birds and Insects – Host plant for the caterpillars of Eastern or Bronze Flat Butterfly (Netrocoryne repanda repanda) , the Common Pencilled-blue (Candalides absimilis) and Hairy Line-blue (Erysichton lineata) , Glistening Blue (Sahulana scintillata), Large Purple Line-blue (Nacaduba berenice) butterflies which feed on the young foliage and flower buds.