Appleberry (Billardiera longiflora)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Billardiera longiflora

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw[3, 157, 183]. Aromatic, mealy and pleasant[144]. Remove the seeds before eating the fruit[144]. The fruit does not have a pulp[154] and is dry and boring[K]. The deep blue fruit is up to 25mm long[219].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The leaves contain saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Only just cover the seed. Sow stored seed in early spring in a warm greenhouse. The germination of fresh seed is usually prolific, but stored seed can take a year to germinate[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 12cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Fair percentage. Layering.
Requires a moist well-drained humus-rich lime-free soil in a sheltered position in sun or semi-shade with a cool root run[3, 11, 31, 200]. Plants are only hardy to about -5¡c[260]. They succeed outdoors only in the mildest areas of Britain[1, 3, 49]. They can survive quite cold winters outdoors if given a suitable position[120]. They are hardy to at least -7¡c in Australian gardens[157] though this cannot be translated directly to British gardens because of our cooler summers and longer, wetter and colder winters. Mulching the roots in winter will provide extra protection for the plant and even if the top is cut back by the cold it might resprout from the base[200]. A very ornamental plant[1].The flowers are deliciously scented[245]. Any pruning is best done in spring[202].
Australia – New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.