On the advice of the eminent English botanist, Sir Joseph Banks (1743 to 1820), the just-appointed governor of New South Wales stopped at Rio de Janeiro in 1786, and selected seeds and plants to supply grain, fruit and vegetables for the penal population in Australia. He introduced bananas, oranges and tamarind, and from the Cape of Good Hope, strawberries and figs, among other fruits. Today, Canberra is the capital, and home to numerous fruit trees.
The tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a tropical evergreen tree with clusters of small, yellow flowers and fruit pulp with various applications. It usually grows to heights between 50 and 90 feet, with a dome-like crown and a short trunk. It is a slow-growing tree, with many culinary and medicinal uses, according to the Floridata website. For instance, the fruit pulp produces curries and chutneys. Tamarind is an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. It is a medicinal treatment for digestion, gas and sore throats.
The yellow jaboticaba (Plinia glomerata) exhibits golden green branches and light green leaves which make this a sought-after ornamental tree. It is bushy and grows to heights of around 13 feet. The fruit of the yellow jaboticaba tastes similar to pineapple. This tree does well in rich soil and full sun to partial shade, but cannot tolerate frost.
The white sapote (Casimiroa edulis) exhibits thin-skinned, green to yellow fruit that sometimes turns yellow to orange. The creamy-yellow flesh makes milkshakes and ice cream. This evergreen can attain a height of about 50 feet. It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and full sun, but needs shelter from wind and frost.
Heritage Red Raspberry
The Heritage red raspberry or tropical raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is very popular in Canberra, for its fresh fruit and for making jams and jellies. It thrives in full sun and with regular watering, particularly when the first white flowers appear, usually in April, followed by the red or yellow fruit. The primocane variety in Canberra fruits in the fall, providing a fruit picking period of between 8 and 12 weeks. It is a member of the Rosaceae family.
Nashi or Asian pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) produces crisp, sweet-tasting, apple-like fruit with a light yellow skin. The Nashi pear does well in a sunny location and well-drained soil. The branches may benefit from training to alleviate the weight of the fruit.
The olive tree (Olea europaea) is an evergreen with pretty silvery foliage. It is drought and frost tolerant, and thrives in well-drained soil. The olive tree needs regular watering, and fertilizing in the spring and fall.