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Morton, J. 1987. Java Apple. p. 381–382. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.

Java Apple

Syzygium samarangense Merr. & Perry

Syzygium javanicum Miq.

Eugenia javanica Lam.

Much less known than the Malay Apple, this member of the Myrtaceae is botanically identified as Syzygium samarangense Merr. & Perry (syns. S. javanicum Miq.; Eugenia javanica Lam. in part; E. alba Roxb.). Among its various vernacular names are: samarang rose apple, djamboe semarang (Indonesia); jambu ayer rhio (Malaya); pini jambu (Ceylon);jumrool, jamrul, or amrool (India); chom pu kao, or chom pu kio (Thailand); makopa (Philippines); cashu di Surinam, or Curacaose appel (Curacao); wax apple, wax jambu and water apple, generally.

Java Apple
Plate LIII: JAVA APPLE, Syzygium samarangense

The tree, 16 to 50 ft (5-15 m) tall, has a short trunk 10 to 12 in (25-30 cm) thick, and open, widespreading crown, and pinkish-gray, flaking bark. The opposite leaves are nearly sessile, elliptic-oblong, rounded or slightly cordate at the base; yellowish to dark bluish-green; 4 to 10 in (10-25 cm) long and 2 to 4 3/4 in (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, 3/4 to 1 1/2 in (2-4 cm) broad, 4-petalled, with numerous stamens 3/5 to 1 in (1.5-2.5 cm) long. The waxy fruit, usually light-red, sometimes greenish-white or cream-colored, is pear-shaped, narrow at the base, very broad, flattened, indented and adorned with the 4 fleshy calyx lobes at the apex; 1 1/3 to 2 in (3.4-5 cm) long, 1 3/4 to 2 1/8 in (4.5-5.4 cm) wide. The skin is very thin, the flesh white, spongy, dry to juicy, subacid and very bland in flavor. There may be 1 or 2 somewhat rounded seeds 3/16 to 5/16 in (0.5-0.8 cm) wide, or none.

Origin and Distribution

The tree is indigenous from Malaya to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where there are wild trees in the coastal forests. It was introduced into the Philippines in prehistoric times and is widely grown throughout those islands. It is common in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Taiwan, frequently cultivated in India and in Zanzibar and Pemba, but primarily as an ornamental, seldom for its fruits which are little valued. It was introduced into Jamaica before 1903 and also into Surinam and the islands of Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire. A few trees have been grown in Israel but have borne sparsely.


The Java apple is extra-tropical, growing only at the lower altitudes–up to 4,000 ft (1,220m)–in India. It does best in parts of the Philippines that have a long dry season.


The soil must be fertile, or the crops will be small and the fruit quality poor.


The trees grow spontaneously from seed. Preferred types are reproduced by layering, budding onto their own rootstocks, or onto seedlings of S. densiflorum A. DC., (the beautiful Wild Rose Apple of Malaya, which has edible flowers, undesirable fruits, but is not attacked by termites). Sometimes the Java apple is grafted onto the cultivated Rose Apple (q.v.).


If planted in orchards, the trees are spaced 26 to 32 ft (8-10 m) apart and are given a minimum of attention.


In Ceylon, the fruits are ripe from March to May; in India, the tree blooms in March and April and the fruit ripens in May and June; in Java, flowering occurs from April to June and fruiting from June to August.


The Java apple is a heavy bearer on good soil. When 5 years old it may yield a crop of 700 fruits.

Food Uses

In Malaya, the greenish fruits are eaten raw with salt or may be cooked as a sauce. They are also stewed with true apples. The pink fruits are juicier and more flavorful and suitable for eating out-of-hand or cooking without accompaniments except sugar.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Moisture 91.40-92.96 g
Protein 0.50 g
Sugar 6.56 g
Iron 0.001 g
Ash 0.21-0.27 g
Calcium 0.01 g
Phosphorus 0.03 g
Sulphuric Acid 0.17%
Citric Acid 0.15%

*Analyses made in the Philippines.

Other Uses

Wood: The wood is red, coarse, hard; used for constructing huts in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Medicinal Uses: The flowers are astringent and used in Taiwan to treat fever and halt diarrhea. Investigators have found their principal constituent to be tannin. They also contain desmethoxymatteucinol, 5-O-methyl-4'-desmethoxymatteucinol, oleanic acid and B-sitosterol. They show weak antibiotic action against Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and Candida albicans.