Fruits & Vegetables

Apple Berry

Botanical Name: Billardiera scandens
Species:B. scandens


Common Names: Apple berry or Apple dumpling

Habitat:Apple Berry occurs in Australia – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria. It grows by mountain streams or scrub country in forests, by coasts and on tablelands.

Apple Berry is a small shrub or twining plant . It is an evergreen Climber growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft). The inflorescence consists of single or paired yellow flowers, pink-tinged yellow sepals and bright yellow petals and is attached to a hairy drooping peduncle. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The summer flush produces fruit of oblong berries up to 30 mm long, initially green in colour and covered in fine hair – somewhat akin to a tiny kiwifruit in appearance.


There are two varieties:
*Billardiera scandens var. scandens – Leaves linear to ovate with lower surface glabrous pubescent;
*Billardiera scandens var. sericata – Leaves elliptic to narrow-elliptic with lower surface silky-villous.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. Unripe fruits can be roasted. A pleasant sub-acid flavour akin to dried apples. Tastes like kiwi fruits (Actinidia deliciosa).The fruits are up to 2.5cm long

The flowers and fruit of apple berry are attractive to both birds and people. The fruits, which only ripen after dropping to the ground, are valued as an Australian bush food and are variously described as tasting like stewed apples or kiwifruit. They were eaten by Australian Aboriginals either in their ripened state or by roasting the unripened fruit. Botanist Joseph Maiden noted in 1898 that children of European settlers in the Port Jackson area, where it is commonly found, had been eating the berries since the foundation of the settlement in 1788. He also noted in 1889 that it was commonly referred to as “Apple Berry” and that “The berries are acid and pleasant when fully ripe. From their shape children call them “dumplings.” When unripe, a small quantity of the juice produces very disagreeable and persistent heartburn.”

Medicinal Uses: No appreciable medicinal uses are found.

Requires a moist, well-drained, humus-rich, lime-free soil in sun or semi-shade with a cool root run. This species usually requires greenhouse protection in Britain, but plants can succeed outdoors on a wall in mild areas of the country. They tolerate temperatures down to at least -7°c in Australian gardens but this cannot be translated directly to British gardens because of our cooler summers and longer, colder and wetter winters.

Apple berry is a popular choice in Australian gardens, especially those favouring indigenous plants as a rambling yet non-dominant shrub, especially beneath eucalypts and between other native species. The species is also grown in gardens around the world and is easily propagated and maintained. It is an adaptable plant, and will withstand a wide range of conditions, including mild frost, semi-shade and periods of dryness although it performs best in moist conditions. It also tolerates a wide variety of soils, including clay.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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