Flowering branch Myrtles   -   Order Myrtales


Myrtales are a mid size order of often aromatic tropical and subtropical shrubs and trees. The Myrtle family (Myrtaceae) is the most important, and particularly important in the flora of Australia. Some, such as Eucalyptus, prefer temperate climates rather than tropical. A number of tropical and sub-tropical species bear edible fruit. We've put all the Myrtales families on one page so we don't end up with a bunch of orphans.   Photo of Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium) © Gerald W.


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Varieties - Europe & the Americas

Myrtle   -   [Common Myrtle; Myrtus communis]
Myrtle Leaves, Blue Berries

This is the Mediterranean myrtle of myth and legend. Myrtle oils have been used medicinally since ancient times, and still are today, particularly for sinus infections. It's only culinary usage is as a flavoring for an alcoholic beverage called Mirto, made in Sardinia and Corsica. It is made in two colors, red and white, depending on the color of the berries used. Red is most common.   Photo by Japs 88 distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Allspice  -   [Jamaica pepper, Myrtle pepper; Pimenta, Pimento (Spanish); English pepper (Hebrew); Pimenta dioica of family Myrtaceae]
Allspice Fruits containing seeds

Native to the Caribbean, southern Mexico and Central America, this spice is produced by a tree that can grow to 60 feet tall. The name comes from the English, who thought the dreied fruits tasted like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The tree has now been planted in tropical climates around the world. Allspice is very important in Caribbean cuisine, and has been enthusiasticall adopted in the Levent. In Germany it is used in sausages.

This spice should always be bought as whole dried fruits, as it declines rapidly if ground. It is soft and easily ground. In the growing region the leaves are also used as a flavoring, but they become worthless when dreied, so are not a commercial item. The photo specimens vary considerably in size, with the largest 0.330 inch diameter and the smallest 0.227 inch diameter (8.4 to 5.8 mm).

Cloves   -   [Syzygium aromaticum]
Whole Cloves

While commonly used in Europe and North America, these belong to the Southeast Asian Syzygium genus and are native to Indonesia.

Pomegranate   -   [Punica granatum of family Lythraceae   |   Socotraan Pomegranate (Yemen); Punica protopunica]
Pomegranate Fruit, whole and broken

The fruit of this shrub, native to Iran and eastern Turkey, has been in use since prehistoric times. In the Ancient World it had already spread throughout the Mediterranean region, North Africa, the Caucasus, and India. Around 700 CE it reached southern China and drier parts of Southeast Asia, with Spanish settlers bringing it to California and Latin America in 1769. It is now also cultivated in Arizona. Pomegranates failed to fruit in England, but were planted in the English colonies that are now the southeastern states of the United States.

The smaller, less sweet P. protopunica grows only on the island of Socotra, Yemen, and is thought to be a remanent population of the precursor of P. granatum. Pomegranates have many culinary applications throughout their range, and there are many products made from them.   Details and Cooking.

Water Caltrop   -   [Water Chestnut, Buffalo Nut, Bat Nut, Devil Pod; Singhara; Pani-fol (India); Hishi (Japan); Lingjiao (China); Family Lythraceae, Trapa bicornis and Trapa natans]
Water Caltrop Fruits

These strange looking hooked pods are the seeds of floating water plants. They have been cultivated in India and China for more than 3000 years, and were much eaten in Europe from prehistoric times until near the end of the 19th century. They are now nearly extinct in Europe due to climate change and draining of swamps and wetlands, but Trapa natans has become a pest in North America, from Vermont to North Carolina and in Washington State.

The photo is of T. bicornis from East Asia, three in the shell, (3 inches point to point), and four shelled ones in the middle. T. natans is more triangular, with much shorter but sharper horns. It is the species listed as a "noxious weed" in much of the United States. Seeds do not float, and can remain viable for up to 12 years, which makes it difficult to eradicate. It's pretty hilarious that these are in the same plant family as the pomegranate.   Details and Cooking.

Guava   -   [Guava, Apple Guava; Psidium guajava | Strawberry Guava (red), Lemon Guava (yellow); Psidium cattleianum | (and about 100 more species]
Guava Fruit, whole, cut

Guavas are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America, but are now cultivated in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Australia and North America. Here in Los Angeles two varieties are commonly sold, a green Apple Guava, and a smaller yellow variety. This genus does not include the pineapple guava, a popular back yard fruit shrub.

Because Guavas have tough outer skins and the sweet/tart flesh is filled with very hard seeds, they are difficult to eat out of hand. They are usually processed into beverages, blocks of guava paste, or jellies. They are very high in antioxidants and vitamin C, (about 4 times as much as in an orange).

Arrayan   -   [Sartre Guava; Psidium sartorianum   |   and many other Myrtles]
Arrayan, whole, cut

This is very confusing, because there are many Myrtles (and some non Myrtles) that are called "Arrayan" in Spanish. Most have very small fruit, 0.4 to 0.6 inches diameter. The ones in the photo were from Guatemala, shipped frozen. I'm calling them P. sarorianum because it fits the photos and descriptions I've found, and it's the only one reported to produce fruit as large as 1-1/2 inches, though most trees produce fruit about 0.6 inches in the wild.

The photo specimens were up to 1.65 inches diameter, quite tart but with excellent flavor, and skin so thin it can be eaten. Like all guavas, they were full of seeds, but that doesn't bother me, I just swallow the seeds. Most were not as ripe as the cut specimen, so the seeds were much less obvious and more tender. These were purchased frozen from a large Hispanic market in Los Angeles (Burbank) for 2016 US $4.56 per pound.

Pineapple Guava   -   [Feijoa, Pineapple Guava, Guavasteen; Acca sellowiana]
Pineapple Guava Fruit, whole, cut

Native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina, this shrub is now popular in Southern California back yards and grown in other parts of North America as well. It is also grown in (former Soviet) Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The flavor is sweet and aromatic, and the flesh slightly granular. It can be eaten by cutting in half lengthwise and scooping the flesh out with a spoon. It is also used in fruit drinks and smoothies, and in New Zealand it is used in stewed fruit recipes.

Ripeness is not easy to determine. This is generally done with a gentle squeeze, it should yield but not be soft. Generally, when perfectly ripe they drop from the bush, but must be gathered daily because they decline rapidly, browning on the inside. The flower petals are also delightfully edible, fleshy, sweet and aromatic.

Camu Camu   -   [Myrciaria dubia]
Camu Camu Fruit, whole and cut

Native to riverbanks along the Amazon, this cherry size red fruit is now one of those "superfruits" sold in health food markets, generally in powdered or bottled form. It was never significant as a native food because it is much too acidic and needs to be mechanically blended into a smoothie to be appreciated. It is rich in vitamin C (which declines as the fruit matures, and doesn't survive processing well, and is rich in a number of flavonoids.

As with other exotic fruits that become health fads, it is over priced and being over harvested - heading for endangered status. The government of Brazil is trying to encourage farming it to save the wild shrubs.   Photo © d0003.

Guavaberry   -   [Rumberry; Myrciaria floribunda]
Ripe Guavaberries

Closely related to the Camu Camu, this shrub or tree (up to 60 feet high) bears orange to dark red, nearly black fruit about half the size of a cherry, The flesh, which has a tang similar to guava, is translucent and surrounds a single seed. The tree is found wild in Central America, South America, and many of the Caribbean islands. It has been introduced to Florida, Hawaii, Bermuda, and the Philippines. Its main use is to make guavaberry flavored rum, but it can also be made into jam.   Photo by Vmatosc contributed to the Public Domain.

Jabuticaba   -   [Brazilian Grape, Jabotica, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabará, Ybapuru; Myrciaria cauliflora]
Jabuticaba Tree trunk with fruit

Native to Southeast Brazil, this tree bears dark purple fruits up to 1-5/8 inches diameter directly on the trunk and major branches. The purple skin is thick and astringent, covering a sweet white gelatinous flesh and a single seed. Where they grow, they are popped as a snack as we do grapes in North America. They are also made into jams, wine, and liqueurs.

Because their shelf life is a mere 3 to 4 days, they are rarely seen outside the growing regions. The fruit contains antioxidants and compounds that may be useful against cancer and inflamation.   Photo by Adamantiaf contributed to the public domain.

Cagaita   -   [cagaiteira; Stenocalyx dysentericus]
Cagaita Fruit, leaves

Native to Brazil, these trees can produce about 1500 fruits between the months of September and December. The fruits are yellow, a little over an inch in diameter with a single seed loose in the center. They have a sweet - sour, slightly astringent taste. The fruit can be kept for only about 3 days unrefrigerated, maybe 10 days in the fridge, so it isn't seen much outside the growing region. It can be eaten out of hand, but if you eat much of it that way it'll give you the runs. It is also used to make beverages, sweets, jams and sherbets.   Photo by Conrado distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Pitomba   -   [Uvalha do campo, Ubaid do campo, Uvalheira; Eugenia luschnathiana]
Pitomba Branch with Fruit

Native to Bahia Brazil, this tree, which grows to 30 feet high, is cultivated for it's fruit. It has been introduced to Florida but has not become popular there. The fruit is up to 2 inches diameter, containing one or two seeds. The bright orange/yellow fruits have a thin skin over a soft, juicy, aromatic, golden yellow flesh. The taste is somewhat tart and slightly resinous. These fruits are used to make jams, jellies and carbonated beverages. This pitomba is often confused with a soapberry fruit also called Pitomba. This one has prominent sepals (stiff petal-like features) projecting from where the flower was, while the soapberry fruit is browner and smooth at the flower end.   Photo © Huertas Urbanas.

Araza   -   [Araca-boi; Eugenia stipitata]
Araza Fruit, whole, split

Native to the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil, this small to medium size tree bears a fruit with distinctive flavor, and is about as sour as lemons. It is usually used to make juice or jam, or as a culinary souring agent. Fruits can be as large 3-1/2 inches diameter and as heavy as 1-1/2 pounds, the tree is drought tolerant, so there is interest in developing more commercially viable varieties (the current variety's fruit is difficult to ship). Some are planted in California, but not yet sold commercially.   Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture = public domain.

Surinam Cherry   -   [Brazilian Cherry, Cayenne Cherry; Pitanga (Brazil); Nangapirí (South America); Eugenia uniflora]
Surinam Cherry Fruit on Tree

Native to northeastern South America, this plant bears white flowers that mature into red fruit about 3/4 inch diameter. The fruit ranges from sour to sweet, the darker they are in color the sweeter. The primary use of the fruits is as a flavor base for jams and jellies. Surinam Cherry was introduced to Bermuda as an ornamental, but has gotten out of hand there.   Photo distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Rain Forest Plum   -   [Cambuí Roxo, Murtinha; Eugenia candolleana]
Rain Forest Plum Fruit on Tree

Native to the Atlantic rain forest of Brazil, this small tree produces dark purple fruit about 1 inch long and a little less in diameter. The firm white fleshed fruit with a single large seed is moderately sweet and can be eaten out of hand or made into jams.   Photo by Jorge Stolfi distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Cherry of the Rio Grande   -   [Eugenia involucrata syn: Eugenia aggregata]
Cherry of the Rio Grande Fruit on Tree

Native to Brazil, this shrub is now grown to some extent in Florida. It bears red to deep purple fruit about 1 inch in diameter with a taste similar to a sweet cherry. It can be eaten out of hand or used to make juice, jam or jelly.   Photo by I likE plants! distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Luma   -   [cauchaos; Amomyrtus luma]
Luma Fruit on Tree

Native to the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil, this large tree produces small (up to about 5/8 inch diameter) dark purple to black fruit called cauchasos. They are mainly used to make marmalade. Some trees have been planted in Spain, either for fruit or the very hard wood the tree produces.   Photo by Roberto Bahamonde Lugar contributed to the public domain.

Ugni   -   [Ugniberry, Chilean Guava, Strawberry Myrtle; Ugni molinae]
Ugni Fruit on Tree

Native to Chili and southern Argentina, this berry became a favorite fruit of Queen Victoria, but it's just a curiosity in England today. Use of the fruit in cuisine is limited to Southern Chili, where they also use it to make a liqueur called Murtado.   Photo distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Puca   -   [Mouriri pusa]
Tray of Puca Berries

Native to the rain forests of northern and central Brazil, this short to medium tree bears brownish purple fruit with a thin skin and sweet tasty pulp. Flowers and fruit are attached directly to the main stems. This fruit is not yet well known nor cultivated, but is eaten fresh where available.   Photo by Conrado distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Evening Primrose   -   [Common Evening Primrose, Evening Star; King's Cure-all, Fever Plant (England); Oenothera biennis]
Evening Primrose Flowers, Buds

This plant, native to Eastern and Central North America, has been widely planted in northeastern Europe where it quickly became a folk remedy. It is noted for its seeds containing a large amount of gamma-linolenic acid, which has unique properties. It is considered an anti-inflammatory, used to treat skin problems and may have potential as an anti-cancer agent. The leaves are edible and were traditionally used as a leaf vegetable.   Photo by Dcrjsr distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Fireweed   -   [Great Willow-herb (Canada); Bomb Weed, Rosebay, Willowherb (England); Epilobium angustifolium]
Fireweed Flower Stalk

Native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, this opportunistic herb quickly establishes itself in disturbed ground, whether from fire, railroad construction, bomb craters or whatever.

Young shoots are edible and were gathered by American Indians in combination with other greens. Stems of more mature plants can still be eaten if peeled. Roots are edible roasted if the outer skin is scraped off and the dark central thread is removed. They are best gathered before the start of flowering, when they will become bitter. Fireweed is high in vitamin C and pro-vitamin A.

In Alaska, fireweed is used to flavor confections, and in Russia leaves were used as a substitute for tea (Kapor tea). The leaves can be fermented as is done to make black tea.



Varieties - Australia & South and Southeast Asia

Cloves   -   [Syzygium aromaticum]
Whole Dried Cloves

Differing from most of the culinary Syzygium species, cloves are the dried unopened flower buds rather than the mature fruit. These highly aromatic flowers grow in big clusters on a tree native to Indonesia (the leading producer). They are now also grown in India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The tree grows to about 35 feet. The flower buds are harvested when they turn red but have not yet started to open. They are dried, and then packaged for shipping.

Indonesian Bay Leaf   -   [Daun Salam (Indonesia), Salam Leaf, Indian Bay Leaf (obsolete); Eugenia Polyantha]
Dried Daun Salam Leaves

Native to Borneo through Indonesia, this leaf is used in cooking only in that region - but in Indonesia in particular, it is used a lot. Fresh leaves are used in curries and with meat, and dried leaves when fresh are not available. Packages of dried leaves are often labeled "Indian Bay Leaf", an obsolete usage from when Indonesia was called East India.

Many cookbooks, presuming you can't get Daun Salam, suggest using European bay leaves. This is bad advice - Salam is not at all related to either European or Indian bay leaves, both of which are highly aromatic Laurels with an entirely different and more powerful flavor. Daun Salam is a myrtle. The leaves are thinner and less aromatic, more earthy, and with a definite hint of citrus. A much better substitute is Curry Leaf (which is a citrus), but Salam is not as strong, so use a little less.   Details and Cooking.

Melaleuca   -   [Tea Tree Oil; Melaleuca alternifolia | Cajuput oil, Paperbark; Melaleuca leucadendra]
Leafy Melaleuca Branch

The only association these highly medicinal Australian trees have with the culinary arts is as an ingredient in burn ointment and topical disinfectants. Tea tree oil is made mainly from Melaleuca rather than the closely related Tea Tree proper (Leptospermum). I must say, though, that I very much like the tea tree oil soap I buy from Trader Joe's.

Melaleuca quinquenervia was planted in Florida to help drain swamps. Now they'd really rather have the swamps back. These trees spread quickly, and stands are so dense they are totally impenetrable. They are so flammable the former swamps are prone to firestorms. The photo specimen is a twig from my Melaleuca leucadendra.

Tea Tree   -   [Leptospermum polygalifolium and other species]
Tea Tree Flower and Pod

Formerly a tea high in vitamin C was made from the leaves of this shrub or small tree to ward off scurvy. Native to Australia, the main culinary use of Tea Tree today is in the production of honey. Due to the nature of the plant and its nectar, Tea Tree honey is the most antiseptic honey known.   Photo of Leptospermum squarrosum by JJ Harrison distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Eucalyptus   -   [Eucalyptus many species]
Eucalyptus Leaves on Twig

These highly medicinal trees, native to Australia, have many uses, but their only culinary use is as a flavoring - mainly for throat lozenges and the like. It is interesting as the tallest flowering plant, and the third tallest of all plants, after Coast Redwood and Douglas Fir (both conifers).

Eucalyptus was brought to California for lumber - a failed project because eucalyptus wood twists as at dries, destroying anything built with it. It did, however, serve exceedingly well as wind breaks. There is no wind that can knock over a blue gum - unless you bought it from a nursery, in which case a medium breeze will knock it over (root ball problem).

The photo specimen is from one of my Blue Gums. Note the bug bites. Back in the '80s you never saw such a thing, but now, just as in Australia, you rarely find an unchewed leaf. Some say the pests were brought deliberately by eucalyptus haters, but if so, their plan has failed - the trees are pretty much unfazed.

Malabar Plum   -   [Jambu, Jaamun, Jaambhool (India); Champakka, Chom pu, Chom-phu, Malay Apple, Jambrosade, Pomarrosa; Syzygium jambos]
Malibar Plum Fruit, whole, broken

Native to Southeast Asia, this tree has been introduced worldwide, but especially in the Indian state of Karela. It is most often eaten raw, often with a sprinkle of spiced sugar to counter a slightly bitter aftertaste. In some regions this aftertaste does not appear. The flesh is crisp and watery and the fruit may range from light green through yellow to red when ripe depending on variety. It is usually between 1 and 1-3/4 inches diameter. Ripeness can be judged by shaking the fruit to see if the seeds rattle around. The photo specimens were grown in South Africa.   Photo by JonRichfield distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Chebula   -   [Black Myrobalan, Chebulic Myrobalan; Terminalia chebula]
Chebula Fruit on Tree

Native from India and Nepal east to Yunan China and south to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, this tree grows to almost 100 feet tall. It's ripe fruit, 3/4 to 1-3/4 inches long, looks like a ridged and wrinkled nut, but it is usually picked unripe when it is smooth. The fruit is pickled, preserved in sugar or honey syrup, or made into preserves. While long used in Indian Aurvedic medecine, it has now come to the attention of Western researchers as an aid in joint comfort and mobility.   Photo by Zhangzhugang distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Kakadu Plum   -   [Gubinge, Billygoat Plum, Murunga; Terminalia ferdinandiana]
Kakadu Fruit on Tree

This small to medium tree (to 46 feet) is native to northwestern tropical forests of Australia, and has been used by Aboriginal Australians for food. Usually it is eaten raw, but can be made into jam. It is most noted for having more vitamin C than any other known fruit, about 50 times as much as Oranges - however, cultivated fruit does not approach the concentration in fruit gathered from the harsh wilderness. The yellow-green fruit is about 0.79 inch long and 0.39 inch diameter (2 x 1 cm). Due to safety concerns, the US FDA has rejected Kakadu Plum concentrate as a New Dietary Ingredient.   Photo is from Australian Seed, which has seeds for sale.

Lau Lau   -   [Water Cherry, Watery Rose Apple; Jambu air (Malay); Syzygium aqueum]
Lau Lau Fruit on Tree

This tree, native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, produces waxy red or yellow berry with crisp flesh. The leaves are also edible and used as food wrappers.   Photo by Tu7uh distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Brush Cherry   -   [Scrub Cherry; Syzygium australe]
Brush Cherry Fruit on Tree

Native to the rainforests of Eastern Australia, this shrub is popular in Australia for hedges. The pleasantly sour fruit can be eaten fresh or cooked, and is often made into jams and jellies.   Photo by John Moss contributed to the public domain.

Riberry   -   [Riberry, Small Leaved Lilli Pilli, Cherry Satinash, Cherry Alder, Clove Lilli Pilli; Syzygium luehmannii]
Riberry Fruit on Tree

Native to the rainforests of Eastern Australia, this small to medium tree became popular during the bushfood cuisine movement of the 1980s. The fruit has a tart, cranberry-like flavor with a hint of clove. It is eaten straight off the tree, used in sauces, syrups and confectionery, and made into jam.   Photo by Poyt448 contributed to the public domain.

Malay Apple   -   [Pommerac (Caribbean); Mountain Apple, Ohia ai; (Hawaii); Jambu Merah (Malay); Jambu Bol (Indonesia); Malay Rose Apple, Otaheite Cashew; Syzygium malaccense]
Malay Apple Fruit on Tree

Native to Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, this fruiting tree has been introduced throughout the tropics (the photo was taken in Trinidad and Tobago). It is made into jam by stewing the white flesh with brown sugar and ginger.   Photo by Justinisaacs distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Coolamon   -   [Watermelon Tree, Durobby, Robby; Syzygium moorei]
Coolamon Fruit on Tree

Native to New South Wales, Australia, this tree produces a white or light green fruit up to 2-1/3 inches diameter. It is unpleasant to eat raw, but it works well in mixed preserves.   Photo by Zaareo distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Blue Lilli Pilli   -   [Syzygium oleosum | Magenta Lilli Pilli Syzygium paniculatum]
Lilli Pilli Fruit on Tree

Native to the rainforests of Eastern Australia, this small to medium tree bears purplish blue fruit up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. It is pleasantly crisp, lightly sweet and aromatic eaten raw, but it is also made into jams, jellies and wine. The Magenta Lilli Pilli is very similar with a sour apple flavor. It is also eaten fresh and made into jams.   Photo by John Moss contributed to the public domain.

Paperbark Satinash   -   [Syzygium papyraceum]
Paperbark Satinash Fruit in Hand

Native to the coastal rainforest of northern Queensland, Australia, this small to medium tree bears bright purple edible fruit about 1 inch long. The tree is tolerant of temeprate climates, provided there is plenty of moisture.   Photo by Peter Woodard contributed to the public domain.

Wax Apple   -   [Champoo (from Thai), Love Apple, Java Apple, Royal Apple, Bellfruit, Jamaican Apple, Water Apple, Mountain Apple, Cloud Apple, Wax Jambu; Syzygium samarangense]
Wax Apple Fruit, whole and cut

Native throughout the Southeast Asian region this tree has been introduced to other tropical regions. It bears fruits up to 2-1/3 inches long that may be of any color from white to black. Generally the darkest and lightest are considered best because they are the sweetest. The flesh is light and watery, comparable to watermelon in texture, but sweeter and more aromatic. The entire fruit is eaten, except the seeds (0 to 3).

Some are now grown in Southern California and occasionally appear Farmer's Markets from July to November. The photo specimens were purchased from a Los Angeles Farmer's Market (Montrose) for 2016 US $8 / pound in early November.

Jaambul   -   [Java Plum, Jaam Berry, Black Plum, Duhat Plum, Jambolan Plum, Portuguese Plum; Syzygium cumini]
Jaambul Fruit on Branch

Native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia, this tree has been taken to other regions of the tropics, particularly in former British colonies. It produces dark crimson to black fruit (there is a white fruited variety also). The fruits, which can be up to 2 inches long, have a flavor that's a combination of sweet, mildly sour and astringent. Quality of flavor varies. The fruit is eaten fresh if of good flavor, made into preserves, juiced to flavor ice cream, and made into wine and vinegar.   Photo by A Junaid Alam Khan contributed to the public domain.

Mangrove Apple   -   [Sonneratia caseolaris]
Mangrove Apple Fruit on Tree

This tree inhabits mud flats from Africa to the Philippines, including northern Australia and Hainan Island, China. Both leaves and fruit are eaten in some regions of its range.   Photo by Wibowo Djatmiko distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Cedar Bay Cherry   -   [Mountain Stopper (Aus); Nioi (Hawaii); Eugenia reinwardtiana]
Cedar Bay Cherry Fruit on Tree

Of all of genus Eugenia, this is the only one that is native to Australia. The fruit, which is high in anti-oxidants, is eaten out of hand, used to flavor drinks and candies, and to make preserves.   Photo by Zarrio distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Midgen Berry   -   [Midyim; Austromyrtus dulcis]
Midgen Berries on Tree

Native to Queensland and New South Wales in eastern Australia, this berry is a popular bush food for both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The berries are sweet and aromatic with good gingery flavor, but are next to impossible to exploit commercially due to their "melt in the mouth" tenderness. They pretty much have to be eaten right off the shrub.   Photo by Zarrio distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Lemon Myrtle   -   [Lemon Scented Ironwood, Sweet Verbena Tree, Sweet Verbena Myrtle, Lemon Scented Verbena, Lemon Scented Backhousia; Backhousia citriodora]
Lemon Myrtle Leaves, Flowers

The leaves of this plant, native to Queensland, Australia, are highly regarded for their lemony flavor - generally considered better than lemon grass. They are used to impart a lemon flavor to all manner of cooked dishes and are also used in tea blends. They are of particularly valuable in imparting a lemon flavor to milk based recipes where lemon juice could cause curdling.   Photo by HelloMojo distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Cinnamon Myrtle   -   [Carrol, Carrol Ironwood, Neverbreak, Ironwood, Grey Myrtle, Australian Lancewood; Backhousia myrtifolia]
Cinnamon Myrtle Leaves, Flowers

The leaves of this plant, native to Queensland, Australia, became popular as a flavoring in the bushfood cuisine movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.   Photo by HelloMojo distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Anise Myrtle   -   [Ringwood, Aniseed tree; Syzygium anisatum]
Anise Myrtle Leaves

The leaves of this plant, native to Queensland, Australia, became popular as a flavoring in the bushfood cuisine movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.   Photo by John Moss distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Ceylon Hill Gooseberry   -   [Downy Rose Myrtle, Hill Guava (English); Downy Myrtle, Rose Myrtle (Florida); Isenberg Bush (Hawaii); Rhodomyrtus tomentosa]
Ceylon Hill Gooseberry Leaves, Flowers

This shrub is found all over Southeast Asia in wetter environments. It yields round purple fruit a little over 1/2 inch diameter. The fruits can be made into pies and jams, or used in salads. In Vietnam it is used to make a wine called ruou sim.   Photo by Franz Xaver distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

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