WILD CURRANT Antidesma erostre

Description: Aerostre is a bushy shrub to about 5m tall but much smaller in an open situation, with a sprawling habit. The oblong leaves are alternate, glossy and dark green above and taper to a point. Small, unisexual flowers are borne on racemes in the leaf axils. The small, ovoid fruits, about 8mm long, are dark purple when ripe and are borne prolifically, in tightly packed elongated clusters. A spectacular sight in full fruit, the berries ripen from March to April. Antidesma’s are dioecious but erostre like some other of its related species, seem to fruit quite well even without the presence of a male counterpart. In cultivation A. erostre forms a low spreading shrub 2 to 3m tall. Plants are relatively hardy and will weather light frosts but it does prefer a frost free, sunny situation for optimum growth and fruiting.

Uses: Fruits are ripe when they are purple-black in colour and can be made into a delicious jelly or a sweet syrup to be poured over pancakes.

A tip is to harvest fruits regularly and freeze them until you have accumulated enough to play with in the kitchen.