Robert Powell: Tree Pictures, South-Western Australia

Quandong (Santalum acuminatum)

Quandong is notable for its edible fleshy fruits, of distinctive flavour, which can be eaten raw or made into jams or jellies. It is not, however, as well known as its relative sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), of inland Western Australia and South Australia, which is harvested for its aromatic wood and roots.  These species are also of interest in being root-parasites.

Quandong barely qualifies as a tree. Like most trees it has a single trunk, rather than the several main stems more typical of shrubs.  But it is often less than three metres tall, and thus best described as an upright shrub.  In the absence of fire, however, Perth specimens can grow to four metres, and qualify as trees; larger specimens still can be found in some inland locations.

Quandong has a very wide distribution, occurring through much of inland Australia, and present in all of the mainland States. In Perth it is found chiefly in the coastal dunes or on limestone, as well as in places on the Darling Scarp.

© Text and photographs: Robert Powell