So I am out and about in our beautiful landscapes and often feel lucky to be out surrounded by incredible plants and call it work! There are so many wonderful plants flowering and fruiting right now as the season changes- this includes the native grape- Ampelocissus acetosa.
This vine shoots up as the wet season starts and is commonly found not only in the Darwin region but across a few parts of northern Australia, including Cape York.
Now don’t get too excited it is not a really fat grape like the commercially grown wine varieties, but it is a wonderful plant that is often prolific in areas of our Savannah woodland that has small edible juicy grape fruit that is ripe now (and is from March to May ish) and yes it really is a grape cousin, in the grape family (Vitaceae).
It has, like all our native plants been named first in indigenous language including Turukwanga (Tiwi) and Makorlkorl (Jawoyn)
I have been advised that you should not eat the skin, although I have and it seems fine (I am still alive and nothing odd happened, but you know everyone is different!). The fruit grows in bunches and ripens from green to black and has a juicy sweet taste, with a little hot or bitter after taste but is perfectly harmless. I have read that Jawoyn people rubbed the fruit first in sand to get rid of the cheeky after taste; I did not try this but I presume you then brush off the sand to avoid a gritty crust! The little grapes each have about three seeds in.
We will soon be saying goodbye to this lovely vine until the rains come again..