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Wombat Berry

Wombat Berry

Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolia)

The Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolia) can be found growing wild in eastern Australia as well as in New Guinea and on some of the islands to the north. The Wombat Berry can either trail along the ground or clamber over other vegetation. 

Some have narrow leaves, others times the leaves are broader, almost round. The flowers are rather pretty - white, with long, graceful hairs adoring the petals, making them particularly elegant. 

The fruit is a black berry, somewhat lumpy, like three berries squeezed together, with a yellow attachment called an “aril” near the base. It also has a starchy underground tuber that you can eat like potatoes.

Several nurseries around Australia now sell seeds or seedlings. Wombat Berries need plenty of water, plus partial sun but not full sun. They can climb a fence or a trellis, or you can let them rest on other vegetation. They are not terribly aggressive, so there is no chance that they will strangle out your other plants the way some vines will.

Remember as well, that they can sometimes run along the ground instead of climbing. If you see one beginning to do that, perhaps on its way to growing across your foot path, it might be wise to help them find their way back to the fence or the trellis or whatever you have provided for support.

Be very careful if you are eating foraged fruit. The Wombat Berry looks very similar to a Scrambling Lily, whose fruits are also black, but more rounded and the berries are not edible (although the tubers are).

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