(alternative spelling Quongdong
) is the name given to a number of Australian
wild bush plants and their edible fruits. The plant species are in two unrelated genera, Santalum
, the name and its modifiers are referred to as bushtucker
. This fruit belongs to the family Elaeocarpaceae
Two of which belong to the sandalwood genus, Santalum;
- Quandong; also appearing with the description, desert or sweet quandong, or native peach. The species is one widely used by early Australians, Santalum acuminatum, and to appear in commercial products. It is widely dispersed throughout the central deserts and southern arid areas of Australia. The sweet quandong was therefore known to many different indigenous language groups and is therefore known by many different indigenous names including guwandhang (Wiradjuri people of the Lachlan River region of NSW) from which the English name was adapted. Other indigenous names include; gutchu (Wotjobaluk people of western Victoria); wanjanu or mangata (Pitjantjatara people, west of Uluru (Ayers rock) and goorti (Narungga). When you read of the roots, seeds and smoke being used for medicinal or ceremonial purposes it is likely the Australian Sandalwood, Santalum spicatum is what is being referred to. The Australian Sandalwood has a larger and very palatable nut.
- Bitter Quandong is the vernacular used to describe Santalum murrayanum. The species is also referred to as Katunga, Burn-burn, Mangata, or Ming. This plants in this genera, Santalum, are non-obligate root parasites, which means that it gets some of its requirements from the roots of other plants. Bitter Quandong, as the name suggests, is a bitter fruit, but resembles the red fruit of the Desert Quangdong.
The third species is in another order, Oxalidales, but is also named as a sort of quandong.
- Blue Quandong , species Elaeocarpus angustifolius (syn. E. grandis), also known as Brush (or Silver) Quandong, Blue Fig and Coolan. This belongs to a different genus and is usually categorised with the others due to the similarity of the seed in the fruit. However unlike the Desert Quandong, this is a sour fruit, having a texture and aftertaste somewhat resembling an olive. The fruit is only ripe for a matter of hours between the sour under-ripe fruit to the mealy, crumbly and tasteless over-ripe condition. Blue Quandongs are eaten whole by cassowaries, Woompoo pigeon and Spectacled flying foxes, which pass the nut undamaged. It is commonly thought that the seeds may be unable to germinate unless they pass through the animal's intestines.