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What Is a Kakadu Plum?

Deanna Baranyi
Updated May 16, 2024
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The kakadu plum is a fruit native to the Northern Territories and Western Australia. This small fruit has a sweet taste if eaten raw, particularly if it is ripe, but also can be used in jams, sauces, and other recipes. It has recently caught the eye of cosmetic and nutrition companies as well because of the high level of vitamin C that is found in the fruit. The Aboriginal people of Australia, who have been consuming the kakadu plum for centuries, call it by several other names, such as murunga, manmohpan, or marnybi. It is also known by its species name, Terminalia ferdinandiana, and by its common name, the billy goat plum.

The tree that bears this plum is usually midsize, about 13 to 30 feet (3.96 to 10.1 m) tall. The tree usually has green leaves and white, fragrant flowers. The plums on the trees are typically shaped like small ovals and are pale yellow in color if they are ripe. Typically, a kakadu plum is about 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) in width and about 1 inch (2.54 cm) in length. Some people say they resemble an olive, even having a large seed within the fruit, similar to that of the olive.

Harvesting the plum is usually done sometime between March and June. As the fruit becomes increasingly popular, many people are attempting to learn the best way to cultivate it. In general, it grows best if it is planted in full sunlight and in soil that drains easily. In addition, the seeds must be sanded for them to germinate, which takes about three months; without sanding, the germination process may take even longer.

Research has indicated that the kakadu plum contains approximately 2907 mg of vitamin C in only 100 grams of fruit. This level far exceeds that of the orange, and ranks it among the highest producers of natural vitamin C. It has also been discovered that the fruit contains gallic acid, which has been shown to fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It also contains ellagic acid, a potential cancer fighting agent.

The kakadu plum can be eaten raw, especially if it is ripened to a pale yellow color. This fruit also is often made into jams, jellies, sauces, juices, and sorbets. Diet and nutrition companies have worked to convert the plums to powder while maintaining the high vitamin C content so that it can be added to drinks or other food sources. Some cosmetic companies use the plum in their lotions, eye serums, and lip balms as well.

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Deanna Baranyi
By Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her work. With degrees in relevant fields and a keen ability to understand and connect with target audiences, she crafts compelling copy, articles, and content that inform and engage readers.

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Discussion Comments
By bear78 — On Jan 24, 2015

@donasmrs-- Unfortunately, kakadu plums are difficult to find. They may be available in season in the South states in farmer's markets, but I doubt you'll get any in the North.

You can definitely purchase kakadu plum products online and at some organic stores. Jams and jellies, fruit juice and supplements are available. I personally use kakadu plum juice but I use it like a supplement for a boost of vitamin C. Like other plums, it's also fantastic for regulating bowel movements and treating constipation. So it can be used for that too. But it's really not something that can be used every day constantly.

By donasmrs — On Jan 23, 2015

@fify--- I'm dying to try these plums as well but I can't find them anywhere. I'd prefer to eat fresh fruit but seeing as how inaccessible it is, I might have to order a product made with kakadu plums instead. Every year, people are talking about a new super fruit on television and elsewhere. But practically no one talks about this amazing super fruit called kakadu plum. It's a far better source of vitamin C than practically any other fruit out there. It's unfortunate that it isn't sold more in the US.

By fify — On Jan 23, 2015

I've never eaten kakadu plum but I use a face cream that contains the plum for its vitamin C. Vitamin C isn't just an antioxidant for the body, it's also great for skin. It is a natural skin lightener that also fights aging. My skin has been looking better since I started using this cream and I plan on continuing with it.

I also hope to taste kakadu plums one day. Aside from their nutritional benefits, they also sound very delicious.

By Raynbow — On Jan 22, 2015

@talentryto- Kakadu plum jelly is a specialty item that you are not going to find in most stores. You might get lucky and find it at a natural foods store, but if not, you should search online for a company that sells it.

By Talentryto — On Jan 21, 2015

I received a jar of kakadu plum jelly as a gift, and I enjoyed is very much. It has a sweet, rich flavor that is much better than other types of plum jellies, in my opinion. I'd like to get more Kakadu plum jelly, but I have not been able to find it in grocery stores in my area. Where can I purchase it?

Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her...
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