Our orchard was planted in stages over several years and is still being improved. Mangosteen from the Rainforests of Malaysia constitute our major crop, usually fruiting from about January to March. Eating Mangosteen, the “Queen of Tropical Fruit”, is a wonderful compensation for coping with the extremes of a summer “wet season”. The dark purple, hard outer skin encloses sweet, translucent segments which melt in the mouth.
Rambutan, closely related to Lychee, also from the South-east Asian jungles, is a most decorative tree when in fruit. The Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets are particularly attracted to the panicles of bright red fruit so it is difficult to produce a crop without the benefit of protective nets. Black Sapote from Mexico produce a regular winter crop. A species of Diospyros they are closely related to Persimmon and are sometimes known as Black Persimmon. The fruit is harvested when quite firm but there are always some fruit left on the tree and these attract honeyeaters and other fruit-loving birds as they ripen and become soft.
Durian, known as “King of Tropical Fruit”, is known for its pervasive aroma – a smell that Durian lovers find enticing but some people apparently find unpleasant. The fruit are large and covered with extremely sharp spines so they need to be handled with great care. We harvest the fruit once they have fallen from the tree and we never spend long under the tree in case another fruit falls.
We also grow Abiu, Acerola, Canistel, Carambola, Grumachama, Jaboticaba, Jakfruit, Mamey Sapote, Posh te, Rollinia and Soursop which, supplemented with some bananas, provide us with fruit for many months of the year.
More recently we have planted a selection of native rainforest fruits which are both edible and tasty including Davidson’s Plum, Atherton Nut, Lemon Aspen and Cedar Bay Cherry.