An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Terminalia muelleri

Terminalia muelleri

The Australian Almond or Mueller’s Damson (Terminalia muelleri Benth. 1864) is an arboreal species belonging to the Combretaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subkingdom Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta Superdivision,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Subclass Rosidae,
Order Myrtales,
Family Combretaceae,
Genus Terminalia,
Species T. muelleri.
The terms are synonymous:
– Myrobalanus muelleri (Benth.) Kuntze;
– Terminalia glabra R.Br.;
– Terminalia glabra R.Br. ex Benth.;
– Terminalia microcarpa F.Muell.;
– Terminalia muelleri var. minor Benth..

Etymology –
The term Terminalia comes from the late Latin “terminalis”, i.e. terminal, in turn derived from the classical Latin “terminus”, i.e. term, limit, in reference to the leaves gathered at the ends of the branches.
The specific epithet muelleri is in honor of the German botanist Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller (Rostock, 30 June 1825 – Melbourne, 10 October 1896) who lived in Australia from 1847 to his death.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Terminalia muelleri is a plant native to the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory and northern and eastern Queensland, Australia, and has been introduced to other countries such as El Salvador and southern Florida.
Its natural habitat is mainly that of coastal forests or on the dunes by the sea but it is also found in monsoon forests. The altitudinal range goes from sea level to about 100 m, occasionally reaching up to 500 m.

Description –
Terminalia muelleri is a small deciduous tree, up to 6-8 m tall.
The branches tend to be arranged horizontally except at the ends which are turned upwards, with symmetrical crowns of 4-6 m in diameter.
The bark is rough, dark gray in color.
The leaves are alternate, grouped at the apex of the branches, leathery, obovate, 5-15 cm long and 3-8 cm wide, positioned on a short petiole, light green in colour; they have evident ribs above and prominent below; on the lower page, at the base of the lamina, there are two glands arranged on the sides of the central rib. The leaves, before falling in the autumn period, take on an intense red colour.
The inflorescences, which form in the spring period, are made up of axillary spikes, more or less as long as the leaves, with numerous small greenish white flowers (about 6 mm in diameter), very odorous, consisting of only the calyx, therefore without petals, with triangular lobes smooth externally, tomentose internally, and 10 stamens longer than the lobes.
The fruits, which are dark blue in color, are ovoid in shape, up to about 2.5 cm long. The fruit is edible but not particularly appetizing.
Inside these there is a single seed approximately 8 mm long and 2 mm in diameter.

Cultivation –
Terminalia muelleri is a not very widespread plant, which can be cultivated in full sun in tropical, subtropical and marginally warm temperate climate areas, where it can resist temperatures down to -3/-4 °C for a short period; it is not very demanding regarding the soil as long as it is well draining.
This species is suitable, due to its relatively small size and regular-shaped crown with ornamental foliage, to be used as a shade tree. It is mainly used in street trees, in patios or small gardens, even near the sea, on sandy soils, being resistant to short dry periods, wind and marine aerosols.
This plant reproduces mainly by seed.

Customs and Traditions –
Terminalia muelleri is known by various common names including the following: “australian almond”, “beach almond”, “beach damson”, “blue cherry”, “jam fruit”, “Mueller’s damson”, “Mueller’s terminalia” , “Queensland blue almond”, “west indian almond” (English).
The plant is used as a street tree in numerous cities, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Cairns, Australia.
Its fruits are edible but not particularly appetizing.
The leaves of this plant contain active ingredients with antibacterial and antioxidant properties, in particular gallic acid and ellagic acid (also in fruits).
The plant plays various ecological roles including that of being a food species for the larval stages of the Blue Oak butterfly.

Preparation Method –
Terminalia muelleri is an endemic plant of northern Australia used mainly for ornamental purposes and as a shade plant, street trees, etc.
Its fruits are edible but of little value.
No other uses are known.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

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Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

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