Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ruby Saltbush - Enchylaena tomentosa


Enchylaena tomentosa


This inconspicuous little succulent is a halophyte that can be found in any state of Australia, and has edible leaves and berries. The berries are small (~5mm) and though usually red can be yellow, although I believe that the yellow fruit are immature stages of the red fruit, as they occur on the same plant. The plant is quite variable, from prostrate to upright, with grey to green leaves. There are two varieties in South-east QLD, E. tomentosa var. tomentosa and E. tomentosa var. glabra, having either tomentose or glabrous stems and leaves respectively.

Genus species
Ruby Saltbush
CHENOPODIACEAE

Identification
Shrub up to 1.5m (rarely this tall), often procumbent.
Terete (cylindrical) leaves tomentose, giving greyish appearance.
Fruiting perianths red or yellow, depressed-globose, succulent
Habitat
Found throughout most of Australia, both coastally and inland, also a common plant of salt marshes.
Flowers  year round
Fruits  year round
Etymology  
Tomentose – covered with short dense matted hairs
Warning  
None
Edibility
Raw- fruit and leaves
Medicinal
Prevents scurvy




Red and yellow fruit on the same shrub
The leaves have been eaten by early white people in Australia to prevent and/or cure scurvy. There is no other medical information available on this plant. There are records of the fruit being eaten by the Alyawara people of central Australia.



Cylindrical cross section of succulent leaf


Leaf arrangement around stem


The fruit taste sweet and salty



The large seed inside each fruit

Exerpt from Stanley & Ross

 

References

O’Connell, J & Barnett, P. 1983.  Traditional and Modern Plant Use among the Alyawara of Central Australia. Economic Botany 37(1) : 80-109
Stanley, T & Ross, E. Flora of South-eastern Queensland V1. 1983. Department of Primary Industries (QLD)

6 comments:

  1. Medical plants are preparations containing only plant material. Their effectiveness can be tested in clinical trials as well as synthetic drugs, but many methodological and logistical problems exist. For many herbal medicines, efficacy was established and for many others, this is not the case most of the time because the research has not been done.These Medical plants are much safer than traditional drugs that are there.

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  2. Hi Wullum. Is there any way to subscribe to this blog? I ca,'t see anywhere to add my email or click follow.
    PS: Thanks for your comment on my blog, appreciated.
    Regards, Keith.
    A Woodsrunner's Diary.
    http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com.au/

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  4. Thanks for visiting my blog. I seem to be doing something similar to this, but at the opposite end of the earth so the medicinal plants I'm working with are different.

    For improvements to the blog, you may want to make the text brighter against the dark background--it fades. I like your setup--I haven't figured out how to do columns on my blog yet so I have to go with list format.

    Lauren
    http://herbal-lady.blogspot.com/

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  5. very interesting article nice information

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