Native almond tree attracts red-tailed black cockatoos

By Bruce Thompson

Common Name:  Beach Almond, Sea Almond, Malabar Almond

Genus: Terminalia

Species: catappa

Family: Combretaceae

Origin: Occurs in north Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as Malesia to Polynesia and South-East Asia as a mid-canopy tree, just inland from beaches as well as river mouths and coastal plains. Widely planted in tropical and coastal Queensland.

Beach Almond is a favorite food of red-tailed black cockatoos

Characteristics: Beach Almond has large glossy obovate leaves with 30-40mm angled green fruits that turn reddish purple when ripening. The greenish-white flower spikes are highly scented (some say offensively so!) and attract many species of insects, especially butterflies. They are deciduous and can reach a height of 40m, often having a buttressed trunk. The edible fruit is fibrous with a tender skin and a sub-acid juicy flesh. This is a fast-growing tree in tropical Australia. It can be grown in most places in Australia but is frost tender when young. It tolerates first-line salt.

Uses: Beach Almond is a favourite food of red-tailed black cockatoos. Being deciduous, Beach Almond is an excellent solar access tree for coastal areas, especially open spaces such as parks where it will have room to grow. In bush regeneration, it is a good sand dune stabiliser. Where space and powerlines allow, it is a lush, drought tolerant shade tree for urban forestry and city greening programs to reduce the heat island effect. High in zinc, the seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. The oil from the nuts can be used for cooking as well as in soaps. The trunk contains a gum as well as a yellow and black dye. Medicinally, various parts of the tree have traditionally been used to treat dysentery, leprosy, coughs, jaundice, indigestion, headaches, colic, pain, numbness and fever, as well as diarrhoea, sores, skin diseases and diabetes. The durable wood is used for cabinet work, house and boat construction, bridges, floors, panelling, boxes and crates.

Propagation: By seed

Bruce Thompson 

E: brucerogerthompson@hotmail.com

M: 040 480 6022 www.darkskywarrior.com

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