Marsdenia australis – Silky Pear (plant)
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Marsdenia australis is a vine from the Asclepiadaceae family, native to Central and Western Australia. Pods split to reveal fluffy wind borne seeds. Also called Bush Banana, Green Vine or Karlkurla. An Aboriginal (Wangai) word from which the name of the WA town Kalgoorlie was taken, means ‘place of the silky pears’.
The young roasted pods are eaten as a vegetable, tasting like zucchini. Exceptionally rich in thiamine, they yield up to 2900 micrograms per 100 grams, more than ten times that of any cultivated food (Tim Low, 1990). The leaves and flowers are edible and the white fibre of the fruit has a mild flavour, described by some as tasting like snowpea. All plant parts are edible.
Care and Cultivation of Marsdenia australis
Marsdenia australis prefers a sandy, well drained soil. Reasonably fast growing, it needs a tree/trellis/etc to climb over. Likes a lot of root space as it will start to put on tubers/thickened roots for water storage. Full sun position is best for Marsdenia australis. Do not allow to be waterlogged; best kept on the dry side.
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