Boobiala (Myoporum insulare)
Common name: Boobiala, Native Juniper, Blueberry Tree
Taxonomic name: Myoporum insulare
Habitat: Coast, lots of sand
Form: Prostrate to small tree up to 6 metres
Flowering Time: Late Winter to Spring
Ngarrindjeri name: Karangki
Description and uses:
Note: It’s illegal to collect the fruit in some parts of Australia, but not down this way.
Boobiala shows its flowers from roughly August to October. The flowers are white with purple spots and grow, on short stems, in the angle where leaf and stem meet. It has thick, fleshy leaves with a vein in the middle. It is a coastal plant, loving sandy areas such as dunes. It has thick, smooth leaves and grows to about 6 metres.
Boobiala (Myoporum insulare) has masses of astringent purple berries in Summer. I know a place where there’s over a kilometre of then, unbroken, along a roadside, all in fruit at once, at the right time of year. The berries are quite astringent and can be quite bitter or even salty. They remind me of turpentine, but some folks love them and I’m looking forward to a jam made from them this year.
Another name for this tree is ‘Native Juniper’, as the taste of the berries is reminiscent of that of Juniper. Because of this, they are being used to make Australian Gin by some enterprising folks. There is also some talk of an essential oil being made from the berries because of their bitter oil content.
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