Cocky Apple

Planchonia careya


A small deciduous tree to 6 m high; leaves broadly ovate to 10 cm long, margins finely toothed; flowers large with many white stamens; fruit fleshy oblong to 9 cm long, pulp fibrous. Common in Eucalypt savanna. Flowers July-October. Fruit November-February.


The soft inside part of the fruit is eaten when ripe (green but soft to touch on the outside). Fruit are produced during Balihaj the early part of the wet season. The processionary caterpillar bag, Ngardiyarr, which is often found in this tree causes intense swelling and itchiness if it is allowed to contact the skin. 

The bark can be boiled in water and the cooled liquid used as an external washing medicine for skin sores. The inner bark can be boiled and used as dye for dying fibre reddish colours.

(Source: Blake, N., Wightman, G., and Williams, L. 1998. Iwaidja Ethnobotany, p. 109. NT Botanical Bulletin No. 23, Parks and Wildlife Commission, Darwin.)