Native Apricot, Kurti (Pittosporum phylliraeoides)

Someone thought that the fruit looks like an Apricot...
Someone thought that the fruit looks like an Apricot…

Common names: Native Apricot, Weeping Pittosporum, Bitterbush, Gumbi Gumbi

Taxonomic name: Pittosporum angustifolium

Family: Pittosporaceae

Habitat: Mallee, woodlands

Form: Weeping tree to 10 metres

Flowering Time: Winter and Spring

Kaurna name: Kurti/Mondroo/Mutja

Description and uses:

Native Apricot, now going by the trendy name of ‘Gumbi Gumbi’ was Pittosporum phylliraeoides, now it’s name has changed to Pittosporum angustifolium.

It is an elegant, weeping, tree that has been getting quite a bit of attention of late as another potential anti-cancer remedy. For millennia, though, Indigenous Australians have been using various parts of the tree for a wide range of ailments.

Pittosporum phyllaroides has prolific, creamy flowers
Prolific, creamy flowers

The ‘Native Apricot’ alludes to the appearance of the fruit. They’re a kind of almost vaguely similar in colour and shape to a domestic Apricot, though I reckon there’s more than a little wishful thinking in that. The fruit are interesting as the tree will have fruit in all stages of maturity on it at the same time. They split when ripe and orange/yellow in colour, exposing the seeds,

Every part of the tree has a traditional use. They contain saponins, tannins and flavonoids. Knowing that, we can see how Kurti can affect such a wide range of ailments. It is full of chemical that are anti-inflammatories that work together synergestically for an amazing effect.

Briefly, Saponins help soothe membranes. Flavonoids heal capillaries and smaller vessels, while tannins tone and tighten membranes and reduce inflammation in this way. All work together seamlessly in our bodies.

Seeds, pulp, wood, bark, roots and leaves are used individually or in combination in a decoction. Decoction of every part can be used for can be used for pain and cramps

Native Apricot can be used internally for diarrhoea and inflammation, externally for aches and pain, rheumatism and arthritis. It can ease rashes and external redness when the decoction is applied externally.

That’s only a brief summary of the more prosaic uses foragers and herbalists would use this wonder plant for. I’ll leave a lot of the grander claims to the experts.

At certain times of the year, the gum can be eaten too but I’m not clear as to exactly when.

Despite its name, don’t eat any part of the Native Apricot. It is very bitter, I mean VERY BITTER and you’ll regret it. Use a tea or oil instead.

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