Botanic gardens around the world have often been responsible for the first introductions of many new species of edible plants into a country and from there, have found their way into commercial production or into many household backyards. There are no records to suggest that Flecker Botanic Gardens has been responsible for such introductions, however, the Gardens are endeavouring to fulfil a role of cultivating and displaying edible plants from tropical regions of the world.

Some of the early plantings date back to the 1940-1950 period and can be seen in a section of the gardens adjacent to McCormack Street, which was devoted to plants of economic importance. Cyclone Winifred was responsible for the destruction of a number of trees in this area however, the remaining plants are in various states of health and production.

The following is a list of these useful trees which remain.

Garcinia xanthochymusYellow Mangosteen
Hydnocarpus sp.Chaulmugra Oil used in the cure of leprosy
Artocarpus heterophyllusJack Fruit
Coffea arabicaCoffee
Coffea libericaCoffee
Hevea braziliensisRubber Tree
Theobroma cacaoCocoa
Spondias ambarellaHog Plum
Syzygium malaccenseMalay Apple
Clausena lansiumWampi
Euphoria longanLongan
Litchi chinensisLychee
Salacca sp.Salak Palm
Terminalia kaernbachiiOkari Nut
Dillenia indicaElephant Apple
Manilkara zapotaSapodilla
Antidesma dallachyanumHerbert River Cherry
Citris grandisPummelo
Mangifera indicaMango (2 cultivars)
Phyllanthus emblicaIndian Gooseberry
Garcinia mangostanaPurple Mangosteen
Artocarpus altilisBreadfruit (2 cultivars)

Recent introductions into this area of the gardens include:

Myrciaria caulifloraJaboticaba
Synsepalum dulcificumMiracle Fruit
Averrohoa carambola5 Corner Fruit
Averrohoa bilimbiBilimbi
Blighia sapidaAkee
Artocarpus sericicarpusPedalai
Musa sp.Banana
Malpighia glabraBarbados Cherry
Eugenia megacarpaLaulau

Vegetable foods grown in this area include:

Piper nigrumPepper
BasellaCeylon Spinach
Areca betelBetel
Saccharum edulePit Pit
Setaria palmaefoliaPit Pit
Zingiber officinaleGinger
Canna edulisArrowroot
Abelmoschus manihotAbika
Dioscorea sp.Yam

Because of limiting factors in this area of the gardens such as space and sunlight, a fruit tree section was established at the salt water lakes area adjacent to Greenslopes Street. Plantings here date back to the early 1980s and a lot of the original trees have no doubt fallen to pressures of vandalism and cyclones. The soil conditions in this area are also a challenge, varying from sand to fill dredged from Saltwater Creek. The latter material is now producing results after the salt levels have been reduced. The area receives regular applications of dolomite, rock dust and a mature compost mixture of sawdust, mill mud and chicken manure.

The area also contains water-logged conditions as well as extremely well-drained dry areas. These are used to our advantage, providing a variety of habitats. Because of limited space in the gardens, many plantings are directed by the environmental preference of that plant rather than regimental organisation of plants into different groups or families.

The area is now beginning to take shape with minimal theft and vandalism due to the installation of two heavily-worded signs which has seen a significant reductions in the removal of plant material.

Our aim has been to represent each fruit for public view and appreciation rather than to display every cultivar of each species available. Institutions such as the Kamerunga Research Station should have undertaken the role of trialling various cultivars, assessing their potential to become commercially viable.

A list of the surviving trees of the original plantings in this area are as follows:

Artocarpus altilisBread nut
Artocarpus hypargyreusKwai Muk
Diospyros digynaBlack sapote
Sandoricum koetjapeSantol
Mangifera indicaMango (Several cultivars)
Flacourtia indicaGovernors plum
Blighia sapidaAkee
Anacardium occidentaleCashew
Phyllanthus acidusStar Gooseberry
Tamarindus indicusTamarind
Chrysophyllum cainitoStar Apple
Myrciaria caulifloraJaboticaba
Canarium sp.Pili Nut
Garcinia livingstoneiCooktown Mangosteen
Annona montanaMountain Soursop
Annona muricataSoursop

Further introductions into this area since 1988 include the following:

Nephelium lappaceumRambutan (3 Cultivars)
Durio zibethinusDurian (3 Cultivars)
Artocarpus heterophyllusSeveral Seedling Varieties
Chrysobalanus icacoCocoplum
Pouteria caimitoAbiu
Euphoria longan Longan
Litchi chinensisLychee
Mammea americanaMammee
Pouteria campechianaCanistel
Chrysophyllum canitoStar Apple (2 Cultivars)
Pachira aquaticaSaba Nut
Inga edulisIce Cream Bean
Manilkara zapotaSapodilla (3 Cultivars)
Rollinia deliciosaAmazon Custard Apple
Syzygium samarangenseSemarang Rose Apple
Syzygium malaccenseGreen Malay Apple
Stelechocarpus buraholKepel Fruit
Bouea macrophyllaMaprang
Muntingia calaburaPanama Berry
Diospyros discolorMabolo
Eugenia brasiliensisGrumichama
Lansium domesticumLangsat
Eugenia reinwardtianaCedar Bay Cherry

A number of new accessions are still to be planted and we are always looking for new species to increase the diversity of tropical plants to be on public display.

D. Warmington

DATE: January 1993

* * * * * * * * * * * * *