Our good news Quandong story

Only a small patch of Sweet Quandongs (Santalum acuminatum) remained in Cottesloe and these plants are near the WA Foundation for deaf children. These beautiful small trees were probably much more common many years ago. They are semi-parasitic and send out horizontal roots with suckers. Only very few fruits ever develop on our trees despite good flowering during many summers.

Quandong trees on Gibney Street verge 2009

The street verge was used for parking so the roots were being damaged by cars. Many suckers grew from the roots but then were destroyed. Jan Walker and I received permission from Town of Cottesloe to try an experiment in January 2009. We dug up 10 suckers with  a little root attached and potted them up with slow release fertiliser in the pots. Town of Cottesloe subsequently placed bollards around the site and with this protection the quandongs are now doing well.

To our great surprise 5 of the Quandong suckers survived in pots. We planted them at Grant Marine Park in the winter of 2009, beside Acacia lasiocarpa to provide a possible host plant . You can see how bare Grant Marine Park was at this stage of our restoration efforts!

 

Jan planting winter 2009 – see how bare the slope is!

We are absolutely delighted that several of the Quandongs have flourished and are now suckering.

Our Grant Marine Park Quandong patch in April 2018

The darker green leaves are Quandongs – the same site as the photo above where Jan is planting.

Quandong flowering

We eagerly await the arrival of any fruit. One theory for the lack of fruit set may be the loss of pollinators.

Robyn Benken, Cottesloe Coastcare volunteer