Quandong, quandang or quondong (Santalum acuminatum) is a common name for a small desert tree up to 4 metres high, with rough dark bark and pale green elongated hanging leaves.
The cream flowers are small and cup shaped, in clusters at the ends of the outer branchlets. Flowers form in late summer which become fruit ready for harvest in early spring.
The shiny, bright scarlet fruit is about 2cm in diameter and contains one large nut or kernel, which is sometimes only marginally smaller than the fruit.
Quandongs were an important fruit in the Outback for ALL inhabitants. Early settlers loved to use them in pies and jams. Although somewhat tart, the flesh is highly nutritious and contains twice the vitamin C of an orange.
The kernel is also very nutritious but indigenous Australians tended to use this mainly for medicinal purposes. The wood from the slow growing trees was prized for the making of traditional bowls – pitti or coolamons. The Quandong fruit feature heavily in aboriginal mythology across all the desert regions.