Ehretia Saligna

(Native Willow or Peachwood)

 

Ehret, a German botanical artist. Salignus, resembling a willow

Common name: Peachwood
Aboriginal name: Miganiny

Flowers: April

Uses:
· Edible red fruit - November - February. Size: 4mm
· Wood is good for firesticks.
· A decoration of wood is drunk to relieve aches and pains.
· Cattle eat the leaves

'Ehretia saligna'. Ehretia is pronounced as air-EE-she-a.

This plant, which is common around Broome, is a small tree, sometimes reaching 8 metres in height, although many of the younger trees appear as low as shrubs in the undergrowth. A very few old trees can be seen within the township, and are quite attractive, with their gnarled, and very weeping appearance.

The trees are covered with small panicles of minute white flowers, which eventually form into masses of bright red berries, each fruit being about the size of a match head. Children eat the small fruit, but adults find the effort too time consuming. The fruit are also eaten by local bird species.

Ehretia likes a sandy, or sandy-loam soil, and although not common, it has been found across the Top End into Queensland. The leaves have been eaten by sheep and cattle, and have a moderate nutritional value, with good patability. Locally the tree has been known as Peachwood, or Miganiny, and in the past, it's wood was used in making a form of firestick.

Ehretia saligna, weeping tree to 5m, glaborous throughout; mature bark greyish brown, irregularly fissured, shedding in roundish chunky flakes, young bark grey, smooth; leaves pendulous, concolourous, dull green, with distinct yellowish green mid- vein, long lanceolate or linear, tapering to a fine point, quite entire, contracted into a rather long petiole, rather thick, very obliquely and prominently veined; flowers crem- green, in divaricately dichotomous shortly pedunculate cymes; fruit a small, red, gobular drupe, seeds 4, light tan.

Common in fragmented deciduous vine thickets behind coastal dunes at Broome and One Arm Point and often extending into pindan. Also occurs in NT and Qld.
Bardi name = jiimany. Yawuru name = miganiny. Branches used as a fire drill, ripe fruits often eaten by Aboriginal children. Frequently suckers after fire. Fruits eaten and dispersed by birds.
Flowering April, May, September - November; fruiting November.