Terminalia ferdinandiana, also called the gubinge, billygoat plum, Kakadu plum or murunga, is a flowering plant in the family Combretaceae, native to Australia, widespread throughout the tropical woodlands from northwestern Australia to eastern Arnhem Land. It has a high concentration of vitamin C in its fruit: recorded concentrations of 2300-3150 mg/100 g wet weight and occasionally as high as 5300 mg/100 g, compared with 50 mg/100 g for oranges, ranks among the highest known of any natural source.
It should not be confused with Planchonia careya, with which it shares some common names.
Terminalia ferdinandiana is a slender, small to medium-sized tree growing up to 32 m (105 ft) in height, with creamy-grey, flaky bark and deciduous pale green leaves. The flowers are small, creamy-white, perfumed, and borne along spikes in the leaf axils towards the ends of the branches. Flowering is from September to December. (Southern hemisphere spring/summer.)
The fruit, now commonly known as Kakadu plum or billygoat plum, is used as bush tucker by Australian Aboriginal people. The roundish, light green fruits are usually eaten raw, although they can also be made into a jam.
Kakadu plum extracts may be used an ingredient for cosmetics. While the fruits have been cultivated and some harvests are now supplying market demand, the vitamin C levels tend to fall with the less harsh growing conditions compared to wild trees.
T. ferdinandiana was used as a traditional medicine for the treatment of numerous ailments. The fruits were eaten by Australian Aboriginal people on long treks or hunting trips and were considered more valuable as a medicine rather than as a food. The inner bark of the tree was used to treat a variety of skin disorders and infections including wounds, sores and boils. A recent study has reported on the antibacterial activity of T. ferdinandiana.[non-primary source needed]
- Brand JC, Cherikoff V, Lee A, McDonnell J (1982). "Nutrients in important bushfoods". Proceedings of the Nutritional Society of Australia 7: 50–54.
- Bush Book Volume 2, Chapter 3: Food and Nutrition
- Clarke PA (2007). Aboriginal people and their plants. Kenthurst, NSW, Australia: Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd.
- Isaacs J. (1987). Bush Food. Australia: Weldons Pty Ltd.
- Hegarty MP, Hegarty EE. Food Safety of Australian Plant Bushfoods, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 2001; publication number 01/28, ACT, Australia.
- Gorman JT, Griffiths AD, Whitehead PJ (2006). "An analysis of the use of plant products for commerce in remote Aboriginal communities of Northern Australia". Econ Bot 60 (4): 362–373.
- Cock, I.E. and Mohanty, S. (2011). "Evaluation of the antibacterial activity and toxicity of Terminalia ferdinandia fruit extracts". Pharmacognosy Journal (3): 72–79.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (October 2014)|
- Cherikoff, Vic, The Bushfood Handbook, ISBN 0-7316-6904-5.
- Low, Tim, Wild Food Plants of Australia, ISBN 0-207-14383-8.
- Pharm.J. 229: 505 (1982). Reported 2300–3150 mg ascorbic acid per 100g of edible fruit.