Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa)

Enchylanea tomentosa1
Juicy, red berries of the Ruby Saltbush

Family: Amaranthaceae

Habitat: Mallee, woodland, coast

Flowering Time: All year

Ngarrindjeri name: Paranghuni

Description and uses:

Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa) is one of the very common bushfoods that are available at this time of year (August at the time of writing). Their small, soft, succulent green leaves and bright red berries are a frequent sight on walks.

While the leaves can be eaten in an emergency, there are better things to chew on. The tiny red berries are salty sweet, quite tasty, though there’s not a lot to them and they contain a seed that you’ll have to spit out.

Ruby Saltbush won’t give you a full meal, but the berries are quite tasty to snack on while walking.

To identify it, look for a sprawling shrub, around knee high. It will have fine, fleshy leaves that have tiny hairs. The leaves sometimes dry to black as the seasons progress. The ripe fruit is usually a translucent red berry but can be yellow, orange or purple too, often on the same bush.

Colours of Ruby Saltbush berries
Different colours from several plants
Ruby Saltbush flower
You’ll miss the tiny flowers if you’re not careful

There are other edible saltbushes listed on the Saltbushes page.