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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.