Have you ever had quandong jam?
Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) is a plant of arid places in southern Australia. Big red berries good for making jam can be harvested from this tree. Quandong is a root parasite and it therefore needs a host plant to grow well and Acacia saligna is grown with the quandong in new plantations where the fruit is harvested. The spectacular yellow, but not a wattle, flowering Christmas Tree of Western Australia (Nutsya floribunda) does something similar to acacias and other nearby trees. It grabs onto their roots and diverts water into its own system.
Cheeky, but effective!
Plantations of the Indian Sandalwood are also grown as a hemi-parasite on acacias around Kununurra in northern Western Australia. From these trees sandalwood oil is extracted and this is used for making incense, soap and other aromatic products.
Some wattles have particularly beautiful scents.The vanilla scent of Acacia. redolens or the resinous aroma of Acacia dictyophleba are not from the flowers; the flowers provide another class of smell altogether!
Do you like the smell of raspberry jam?
Well, Acacia acuminata is known as raspberry jam wattle. This species is also used as a hemi-parasite for growing Sandalwood, but this time in southwest Western Australia, but this is a different species of Sandalwood called Santalum spicatum (which is in fact a close relative of the Quandong). Its freshly cut timber smells a treat. Imagine that!
Wattle you know wattle you do?
- Spread some quandong jam on your toast.
- Burn some sandalwood incense.