Kaylene Maalste – Botanics – Quandong

When the theme was announced I knew I wanted to use a native plant, but there were so many choices, in the end my decision was made to use a plant from what we call in Australia “Native Tucker”. These are the edible native plants used for thousands of years by the Australian Aborigines. Quandaong or “Santalum acuminatum” is widely used and rather than type out the scientific description I have used Wikipedia as a reference. Santalum acuminatum, the desert quandong, is a hemiparasitic plant in the Sandalwood family Santalaceae, widely dispersed throughout the central deserts and southern areas of Australia. The species, especially its fruit, is also referred to as quandong or native peach. The use of the fruit as an exotic flavouring, one of the best known bushfoods, has led to the attempted domestication of the species.

The species shares the common name quandong with other plants, bearing similar fruit; it may be distinguished as the ‘desert’ or ‘sweet’. The name Quandong usually refers to the fruit of S. acuminatum in commercial usage. Variant spelling includes quondong and quandang. The fruit and plant are also named sweet quandong and native peach.[1] The plant was known to many different indigenous language groups, and is therefore known by many different names. The Wiradjuri people of New South Wales used the name guwandhang, from which the name quandong was adapted. Other indigenous names include; wolgol (Noongar, South Western Australia) [7] gutchu (Wotjobaluk, Western Victoria); wanjanu or mangata[8] (Pitjantjatjara, Uluru), and goorti[9] (Narungga).

The species was first described by Robert Brown, named in Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae (1810) as Fusanus acuminatus, based on his type collection made at Fowlers Bay, South Australia, in 1802. Brown gave the Latin epithet acuminatus to denote the leaves – sharpened or pointed.[2] The botanist Alphonse Pyrame de Candolle gave the current name in 1857, placing it in the genus Santalum; the genus containing Australian Sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, and White Sandalwood, Santalum album.[10] Several botanical names have been deemed to be synonymous with Santalum acuminatum, as described in Flora of Australia (1984) and the Australian Plant Census (2006), these include: Santalum preissii F.Muell. in Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae (1861); Santalum cognatum and Santalum preissianum of Miquel (1845); and Santalum densiflorum Gand. (1919).

I made a freezer paper stencil of a botanical drawing and used textile pens to draw the outlines. I then proceeded to thread stitch the stencil. I was nervous when I came to print the name, but as this was a requirement I did a few practice runs. My final touch was to hand embroider leaves on the background, these can be seen in the last close up view.


Close up view:






  1. Beautiful embroidery, Kaylene; your piece is elegant in its simplicity.

  2. Elegant embroidery Kaylene. I never understood that it was a requirement to print the name.
    Yours came out very good. Thank you for teaching us about the Quandong plant.

  3. Lovely to see your embroidery, it’s a really great way to illustrate the Quandong plant. Yes I can see the embroidery in the background too. A unique piece of work.

  4. Neat and precise, a very ‘clean’ interpretation.

  5. It was very interesting to read about the Quantong plant.
    Your embroidery is very neat; at first I didn’t see the white leaves on the background, it gives a slight touch of elegance to your piece.

  6. English quilter

    I am not familiar with this plant, but your interpretation is gorgeous. The textile pen work and embroidery are exquisite and the background quilting is very elegant. I am another one who did not realise that we had to print the plant name on the project.

  7. I had heard of the plant but it was great to read more about it. A beautifully elegant piece. The background looks like a linen and just sets of the fine drawing.

  8. Nice drawing and thread sketching. I love the hand embroidery in the background. Must be even better in real.

  9. http://ekeskleurdesign.blogspot.no/

    I never before heard of the Quandong, interesting to learn about it and see the way you translated it in your quilt. I love the subtle and delicate way you put the plant on your background, and how you show us both the flowers and the fruits. I was wondering if the fruits could be used for dyeing… Very nicely done Kaylene!

  10. This is lovely – so clear and simple yet beautifully worked. What do these fruits taste like?

  11. This is a beautiful interpretation of the plant, which is one I’d never heard of. I love your subtle background, and your drawing and writing have worked out really well.

  12. Lovely thread stitching and hand embroidery. Interesting plant

  13. Beautiful, Kaylene. I love the way you’ve created the text. So simple, and so elegant.

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