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Plant of the day: Kangaroo apple. Solanum aviculare

Used for thousands of years by natives, the red fruits of the kangaroo apple can be eaten and is a staple food for the indigenous of the eastern regions. The fruit begins as an unripe green, and if eaten in this state is toxic. However, as the fruit ripens it becomes yellow and eventually a ripe red. The ripening process destroys the toxins and by the time it is red is completely safe to eat.

The yellow half-ripened berries are used as medicine as it contains the precursor compounds to corticosteroids, such as prednisolone. This is why natives would pound the yellow half-ripened berries into a mash and then place them onto sore joints to reduce swelling from long periods of walking. Remember, green is toxic, yellow is medicine, and red ripe is food. This plant is common and usually found in native scrub bushland and as ornamentals in parks.

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