Fruits & Vegetables

Illawarra Plum

Botanical Name: Podocarpus elatus
Family: Podocarpaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Genus: Podocarpus
Species:P. elatus

Common Names: Illawarra plum , Plum pine, Brown pine, Australian Plum

Aboriginal name(s): Daalgaal, Goongum, Gidneywallum

Habitat : Illawarra Plum is native to the east coast of Australia, in eastern New South Wales and eastern Queensland.It grows on coastal scrub forest, Dense subtropical, riverine and seashore rainforests, at elevations up to 1,000 metres. Well developed rainforest, but more abundant in drier rainfores.

It is a medium to large evergreen tree growing to 30–36 m tall with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter. The leaves are lanceolate, 5–15 cm long (to 25 cm long on vigorous young trees) and 6–18 mm broad. The seed cones are dark blue-purple, berry-like, with a fleshy base 2-2.5 cm diameter bearing a single oval or globose seed 1 cm in diameter……..CLICK & SEE

Illawarra Plum is a plant of the moist subtropics and tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 – 30°c, but can tolerate 8 – 34°c. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -2°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1.000 – 1,500mm, but tolerates 800 – 1,700mm.
Prefers a sunny position. Prefers a rich moist non-alkaline soil. Resists salt spray. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 – 6.5, tolerating 4.5 – 7.5. The best development is obtained in coastal lowlands on deep alluvial soils besides river banks.
A fast-growing tree, it takes 8 – 10 years from seed to reach sexual maturity.
The tree usually survives forest fires. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
A dioecious species; both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

The seed can be sown at any time of the year in a sandy soil, though it is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe. Germination usually takes around 4 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until large enough to plant out.
Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, in a frame

Edible Uses:
Fruit is eaten raw or cooked. It makes a tasty jelly. Rich and sweet. Mucilaginous with a resinous flavour. Some people find it too slimy to enjoy.A reasonable size, the fruit is about 25mm in diameter. The seed is borne on the top of the fruit.

Medicinal Uses & health benefits:
Fruit antioxidants have many health benefits including prevention of cancer development. The native Australian bush fruit Illawarra plum (Podocarpus elatus Endl., Podocarpaceae) has a high content of anthocyanin-rich phenolics, with an antioxidant capacity at levels higher than most fruits. In the present study the molecular mechanisms of the anti-proliferative activity of Illawarra plum on colorectal cancer cells were investigated. Non-tumorigenic young adult mouse colonic (YAMC) cells and tumorigenic human colonic (HT-29) cells were treated with a polyphenolic-rich Illawarra plum extract (0–1000 mg/ml). Illawarra plum had anti-proliferative properties in only the cancer cells, with growth suppressed in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Treatment of HT-29 cells with Illawarra plum extract (500mg/ml; 24 h) was also associated with a 2-fold increase in apoptosis, and a cell cycle delay in the S phase (P,0·01). Assessment of biomarkers for DNA damage revealed that plum treatment caused a 93% down-regulation of telomerase activity (P,0·001) and a decrease in telomere length (up to 75 %; P,0·01). Treatment with Illawarra plum extract also induced morphological alterations to HT-29 cells that were suggestive of induction of autophagy, as the formation of cytoplasmic vacuoles was observed in many cells. This could be induced by the increased (6-fold) histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity (P,0·001) and the trend for increased expression of the class III HDAC sirtuin 1. The present study has shown that Illawarra plum extract is able to reduce the proliferation of colon cancer cells by altering the cell cycle, increasing apoptosis and possibly inducing autophagy. The active ingredients in Illawarra plum may provide an alternative chemoprevention strategy to conventional chemotherapy.

Other Uses:
The wood is silky textured, straight-grained, tough, strong, highly durable and resistant to termites and marine borers like barnacles. It is easy to work, takes a fine polish. It is used for a wide range of purposes such as cabinet making, furniture (especially outdoor furniture), turnery, joinery, musical instruments, packing cases, carpentry, construction work such as piles and jetties in salt water, indoor use and boat building. It is a useful carving timbe

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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