The seeds of quandong

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There is a desert quandong tree (Santalum acuminatum), a native Australian plant, on campus. I walked past it for months without paying any attention to it until it started to bear fruits. Its bell-like fruits look like decorations of the Christmas tree. The color is eye-catching. As you can see from the photo on the left below, a drop of bright red first appears to at the top of the fruit. It expands further into the green on the rind, until the entire fruit turns waxy red. The fruits are eatable. In fact they are called the native peach. I brought a a jam from a local company but unfortunately the jam doesn’t taste that much different from apple jam.

What’s inside the fruit is even more interesting. Who’d have thought that most of the inside is taken up by a marble-size seed? The quandong seeds are like walnuts, except that they are more spherical, and the bumps and grooves seem to be more evenly distributed. They look like alien eggs.