Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Akudjura

Botanical Name: Solanum centrale
Family: Solanaceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Solanales
Genus: Solanum
Species:S. centrale

Common Names: Akudjura,Bush raisin, Bush tomato, Bush sultana,Kutjera, or Australian desert raisin

Habitat: Akudjura is native to the more arid parts of Australia. Like other “bush tomatoes”, it has been used as a food source by Central Australia and Aboriginal groups for millennia.

Description:
Akudjura is a clonal, perennial herb or undershrub to 45 cm, often sprawling, pale or rusty yellowish-green, densely pubescent with stellate hairs; prickles absent, or few and sparsely scattered on stems, 1–5 mm long.

Leaves ovate-oblong; lamina 3–6 cm long, 1–2 cm wide, sometimes larger, concolorous, entire to slightly undulate; petiole 5–15 (sometimes 30) mm long.

Inflorescence 1–6–flowered, peduncle absent or to 10 mm long; rachis 5–15 mm long, sometimes to 40 mm, pedicels 6–10 mm long. Calyx 4–6 mm long; lobes triangular, 1.5–2.5 mm long. Corolla stellate, 15–25 mm diam., pale or deep purple. Anthers 4.5–6.5 mm long.

Berry globular, 10–15 mm diam., yellow, drying brown and raisin-like in appearance. Seeds 2–4 mm long, pale yellow or light brown. n=24.

Like many plants of the genus Solanum, desert raisin is a small bush and has a thorny aspect. It is a fast-growing shrub that fruits prolifically the year after fire or good rains. It can also grow back after being dormant as root stock for years after drought years.

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Cultivation:
Traditionally, the dried fruit are collected from the small bushes in late autumn and early winter. In the wild, they fruit for only two months. These days they are grown commercially by Aboriginal communities in the deserts of central Australia. Using irrigation, they have extended the fruiting season to eight months. The fruit are grown by Amata and Mimili communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, by the Dinahline community near Ceduna, by the Nepabunna community in the northern Flinders Ranges, and on the Tangglun Piltengi Yunti farm in Murray Bridge, and are marketed by Outback Pride.

Edible Uses:
The vitamin C-rich fruit are 1–3 cm in diameter and yellow in color when fully ripe. They dry on the bush and look like raisins. These fruits have a strong, pungent taste of tamarillo and caramel that makes them popular for use in sauces and condiments. They can be obtained either whole or ground, with the ground product (sold as “kutjera powder”) easily added to bread mixes, salads, sauces, cheese dishes, chutneys, stews or mixed into butter.Martu people would skewer bush tomatoes and dry them so the food was readily transportable.

Medicinal Uses:
Some people use the plant to treat symptoms of the common cold and flu, with some also viewing it as a cure. Other plants used in bush medicine includes the leaves of the emu bush, which some Northern Territory Aboriginal people used to sterilise sores and cuts.

Known Hazards
The unripe fruit is toxic.
Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most plants in the family Solanaceae also contain poisonous alkaloids. Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant

The species most commonly called nightshade in North America and Britain is Solanum dulcamara, also called bittersweet or woody nightshade. Its foliage and egg-shaped red berries are poisonous, the active principle being solanine, which can cause convulsions and death if taken in large doses.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_centrale
http://www.flora.sa.gov.au/efsa/lucid/Solanaceae/Solanum%20species/key/Australian%20Solanum%20species/Media/Html/Solanum_centrale.htm
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Solanum+centrale

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