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NITRARIA billardierei

Native Grape

Stock: Available

$3.90

Other names: Native Plum or Nitre Bush

Family: Nitrariaceae

Characteristics: Shrub 2 m spread 4 m

Seeds per packet: 6

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Nitraria Billardierei forms a sprawling shrub with fruit 1-2cm turning red when mature in summer and autumn.

The fruit are said to taste like salty grapes, and were eaten by the tribal Aborigines. Fruits can also be made into jam or dried or stored.

Occurs throughout Australia.

Prefers a light to medium well-drained soil in an open sunny position but is extremely tolerant of saline and coastal conditions and is often seen growing in the coastal dunes. Drought and frost tolerant.

Please Note: Although many of the traditional Bush Food and Medicine plants are now commercially produced in various forms we recommend you research these before using them as any form of food or medicines. Some parts of the plant may not be edible or some may need prepared before they are safe to eat or use in any way. We do our best to describe their traditional & modern uses. It is the purchaser responsibility to ensure they are fit for their intended use.

Optimum germinating temperature is around 18-22°C for this species.

Propagation from seed of this species is can be tricky as the seed is contained in a woody fruit. One method is to carefully crack the fruit in a vice to allow water ingress. It is possible to extract the seed will a little more pressure but care needs to be taken not to damaging the seed.

Seed can be soaked in water and sown as normal but it may take 2-12 moths to germinate.

The following method has been reported as being effective:

  1. Place the dried fruits in a small engineer's vice (one with the metal jaws) such that either end of the nut is pressed against the jaws (use forceps to align the fruit, if necessary).
  2. Tighten the vice until you hear the nut crack.
  3. Soak the cracked fruit in water for 24-48 hours.
  4. Sow 2-3mm deep.
  5. Water with fine mist spray to avoid disturbance of the seed.
  6. Place in a warm shaded or semi shaded position.
  7. Keep warm & moist, avoid drying out or waterlogging the growing mix.

Germination time can vary from 28 days to several months.

General note: Seeds of many natives are dormant and require specific conditions or pre-treatment for germination.
Do not be too hasty to discard seed that does not germinate, seeds will often lay dormant until the conditions are similar to their natural requirements for germination to occur. Containers put to one side will often surprise long after they were discarded.

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