Solanum centrale – Kutjera

This bush food plant is native to arid regions of Australia, and grows to a small shrub with pale yellow-green leaves. The bush produces purple flowers from late summer to spring, followed by the edible small fruits, which are yellow when ripe and dry to brown on the bush, resembling raisins. The fruits are rich in Vitamin C and have a flavour described as similar to tamarillo and caramel. Green or unripe fruits are toxic.
The plant fruits well in the year after fire or abundant rains. The plant can also regrow from dormant root stock after periods of drought. Main plant produces underground suckers. Seed will benefit greatly from smoke treatment for germination. The plant needs very little water.

Picture provided by Philip Clarke, from his new book Discovering Aboriginal Plant Use: Journeys of an Australian Anthropologist

Family:Solanaceae
Scientific Name:Solanum centrale
Common Name:Kutjera
Other Common Names:Desert Raisin
Plant Type:Small shrub
Height:0.1 ~ 0.5 metres
Width:0.1 ~ 0.3 metres
Flower Colour:Purple
Flowering Time:Spring, Summer, Autumn
Ph Level:Acid, Neutral
Soil Type:Sandy, Sandy loam, Poor soil
Plant Environment:Low maintenance garden, Drought resistant
Climate Zone:Warm temperate, Mediterranean, Semi-arid, Arid
Light:Sunny, Light shade
Planting Season:Spring
Growth Habit:Evergreen, Open foliage
Lifespan:Perennial
Soil Moisture:Dry, Well-drained
Propagation Method:Seed
Frost Tolerance:Tolerates light frost
Special Uses:Edible, Fast growing
Attracts Wildlife:Bees, Butterflies, Other insects

WHERE TO GET YOUR PLANT

Once you have found the plant that you want, the next step is to find where to get it. Nurseries stock a good range of plants, but due to space and supplies, they may or may not have the wanted plant in stock. If they don’t, they may be able to order it in for you.  Specialist nurseries are also able to give great advice, and if they don’t have the plant you want, they can often suggest alternative plants that will be just as good for you. Below is a list of our favourite specialist nurseries. Click on the links for their details-

 

The Wildflower Place Erina – NSW 

 

Sydney Wildflower Nursery – NSW

 

Newcastle Wildflower Nursery – NSW

 

Cool Country Natives – ACT

 

Geelong Native Plants – Victoria

 

Wimmera Native Nursery – Victoria

 

Zanthorrea Nursery – Perth WA

 

Manuka Native Nursery – South Australia

 

MAIL ORDER NURSERIES –

 

Sydney Wildflower Nursery – mail order

 

The Native Shop – mail order

 


 

 

Angus recommends Bush Tucker fertiliser for native plants.