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Java Apple

(Syzygium samarangense )

Other Names: Wax apple, Wax jambu, Water apple, Rose apple, Jamrul, Amrul, Chom pu kio, Makopa, Semarang

The tree, 5-15 m tall, has a short trunk 25-30 cm thick, and open, widespreading crown, and pinkish-grey, flaking bark. The opposite leaves are elliptic and rounded at the base; yellowish to dark bluish-green 10-25 cm long and 5-12 cm wide; very aromatic when crushed. Flowers, borne in drooping panicles of 3 to 30 at the branch tips or in smaller clusters in the axils of fallen leaves, are fragrant, yellowish-white 2-4 cm broad, 4-petalled. The waxy fruit, usually light-red, sometimes light green is pear-shaped, narrow at the base, very broad, flattened, indented and adorned with the 4 fleshy calyx lobes at the apex; 3.5-5 cm long, 4-5 cm wide. The skin is very thin, the flesh white, spongy, dry to juicy, sub-acid and very bland in flavour. There may be 1 or 2 seeds or more likely none.

The greenish fruits are eaten raw with salt or may be cooked as a sauce. They are also stewed with true apples. The red fruits are juicier and more flavourful and suitable for eating out-of-hand.

The flowers are astringent and used in Taiwan to treat fever and halt diarrhea.

The java apple is extra-tropical. It does best in areas that have a long dry season.

Java apple will grow best in rich fertile soil.

The trees grow spontaneously from seed. Preferred types are reproduced by layering, budding onto their own rootstocks. Sometimes the java apple is grafted onto the cultivated Rose Apple.

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