Acronychia acidula

Distribution Map
Family: Rutaceae
Distribution: Tropical north Queensland and adjacent tablelands.
Common Name: Lemon aspen
Derivation of Name: Acronychia...From Greek akros at the farthest point or end and onychos, talons or claws, referring to the claw-like tips of the petals
acidula...From Latin acidus, sour and the suffix -ula, slightly, referring to the characteristics of the fruit.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Acronychia is a genus of 44 species found in Asia, Australia and islands of the Pacific Ocean. There are about 20 Acronychia species native to Australia with A.acidula being the best known due to its promotion as a food plant.

Lemon aspen is a rainforest tree to about 15 metres in height. Leaves are dark green, elliptical in shape and up to 250 mm long. Small yellow flowers occur in summer to early autumn followed by edible, pale green to yellow fruits which have a strong citrus flavour.

Acronychia acidula
Fruit of lemon aspen
Photo: Black Diamond Images (Flickr Gallery)

The plant is not widely cultivated although there is increasing interest in commercial growing due to the bush food potential of the fruits which are used mainly for production of jams where they produce a spicy citrus aroma and an acidic lemon flavour. At this stage, most fruit for commercial uses comes from wild plants but some small scale production occurs in coastal areas of northern New South Wales and Queensland. Limited reports suggest that the plant prefers a sunny, sheltered position and in rich soils that are both moist and well drained.

Propagation can be carried out from seed which germinates well, without treatment, when fresh. Cuttings of firm, current season's growth should also be successful.


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