Acronychia acidula

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Lemon aspen
Acronychia acidula.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Acronychia
Species:
A. acidula
Binomial name
Acronychia acidula
Synonyms[1]
  • Acronychia superba Domin
  • Jambolifera acidula (F.Muell.)Kuntze
Fruit

Acronychia acidula, commonly known as lemon aspen or lemon wood,[2] is a species of small to medium-sized rainforest tree that is endemic to Queensland. It has simple, elliptical leaves, small groups of flowers in leaf axils and more or less spherical fruit. The aromatic and acidic fruit is harvested as a bushfood.

Description[edit]

Acronychia acidula is a tree that typically grows to a height of about 27 m (89 ft). It has simple, elliptical, glabrous leaves that are 80–235 mm (3.1–9.3 in) long and 43–120 mm (1.7–4.7 in) wide on a petiole 20–70 mm (0.79–2.76 in) long. The crushed leaves often have an odour resembling that of mango (Mangifera indica). The flowers are arranged in groups 30–100 mm (1.2–3.9 in) long, in leaf axils or between the leaves, each flower on a glabrous pedicel 2–4 mm (0.079–0.157 in) long. The four sepals are 2–2.5 mm (0.079–0.098 in) long and the four petals 7–8.5 mm (0.28–0.33 in) long. The eight stamens alternate in length. The fruit is a fleshy, more or less spherical drupe 13–16 mm (0.51–0.63 in) long and the seeds are about 4.5 mm (0.18 in) long.[2][3]

Taxonomy[edit]

Acronychia acidula was first formally described in 1864 by Victorian state botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in Fragmenta phytographiae Australiae from specimens collected by John Dallachy in the Seaview Range near Rockingham Bay.[4][5] Its species name acidula is Latin "slightly acid".[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Lemon aspen grows in rainforest at altitudes of up to 1,000 m (3,300 ft) from the Atherton Tableland to the Eungella Range in Queensland.[2]

Ecology[edit]

The fruit are eaten by the topknot pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus).[7]

Uses[edit]

Lemon aspen fruit has a grapefruit and lime-like flavor, and is popular in beverages, sauces and confectionery. The fruit has high antioxidant activity.[8]

Cultivation[edit]

The tree is grown in small-scale commercial bushfood orchards on the east coast of Australia from North Queensland to northern New South Wales. The tree is quick-growing and requires regular pruning to maintain a practical harvesting height. It has a moderate crop yield, and bears in four years from seedlings. It prefers well-drained and fertile clay loam soils, with a sunny aspect and extra moisture when young.[6]

Cultural references[edit]

Lemon aspen featured on an Australian postage stamp in 2019.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Acronychia acidula". Australian Plant Census. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Hartley, Thomas G.; Wilson, Annette J.G. (ed.) (2013). Flora of Australia (Volume 26). Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Study. p. 115. Retrieved 1 July 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Acronychia acidula". Australian National Botanic Gardens - Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Acronychia acidula". APNI. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  5. ^ von Mueller, Ferdinand (1864). Fragmenta phytographiae Australiae. Melbourne: Victorian Government Printer. pp. 154–155. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b Elliot, Rodger W.; Jones, David L.; Blake, Trevor (1982). Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants suitable for cultivation. (Volume 2). Port Melbourne, Victoria: Lothian Publishing. p. 141. ISBN 0-85091-143-5.
  7. ^ Barker, Robin; Vestjens, Wilhelmus (1989). Food of Australian Birds 1. Non-passerines. CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology. pp. 300–301. ISBN 0643050078.
  8. ^ "Lemon aspen Acronychia acidula". TuckerBush. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Australian Plants on Stamps - Lemon aspen". Australian National Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 2 July 2020.