This salt-tolerant shrub is also known as Native Juniper, Common or Coastal Boobialla, and produces sweet astringent berries. Not really one for eating fresh off the bush, unless you love a mouth pucker, the aromatic, juniper-like berries work well in jams and preserves.
Native to Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales it grows wild on dunes, coastal cliffs and mangrove fringes.
Clusters of bright bell-shaped pink flowers come during spring, offering nectar to bees and other important insects. When ripe (purple-yellow colour), they are edible off the plant. However, if green you can roast them too.
◎ Common Name: Boobialla, Native Juniper
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Myoporum insulare
◎ Comparison: Juniper Berries
◎ Seasonality: All year frozen
◎ Region: Coastal
◎ Taste Profile: A fantastic native plant that produces delicious apple-textured berries. Their flavour is described as somewhere between stewed apples and kiwifruit.
◎ Types: Myoporum insulare, commonly known as common boobialla, native juniper, is a species of flowering plant in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae and is endemic to coastal areas of Australia.
There are 30 species of Myoporum, just over half (16) growing naturally in Australia, the rest in Pacific Islands and eastern Asia.
- It is used as a fast-growing hedge or windbreak that can handle coastal winds and drought.
- It produces a purple fruit that has been important food for Aboriginal populations.
Aboriginal & Traditional
Boobialla was originally use by Tasmanian Aboriginal people for the Coastal Wattle (Acacia longiflolia subspecies sophorae), whose roasted seed they ate. Originally it was pronounced more like 'bubiala'.
Western & Modern
As a fruit you can use this raw or cooked. As Summer ends it produces smooth, round, purple fruits with an astringent sweetness that are great as a snack or for jams, jellies, tarts, baking and preserves.. The aromatic juniper-like qualities makes Boobialla an exciting local botanical for essential oils and gin.
MedicinalIt is prized by the Aboriginal people of Australia for its medicinal applications, and one scientific investigation analysed the leaf compounds and found it to have significant antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus epidermidis, E. faecalis, and Moraxella catarrhalis.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble