Syzygium malaccense Merr. & Perry
Eugenia malaccensis L.
Jambos malaccensis DC.
A delight to the eye in every respect, the Malay apple
is much admired for the beauty of the tree, its flowers and its colorful, glistening fruits, without parallel in the family Myrtaceae. Botanically identified as Syzygium malaccense Merr. & Perry (syns. Eugenia malaccensis L., Jambos malaccensis DC.), this species has earned a few alternate English names including Malay rose-apple, mountain apple, water apple, and, unfortunately, Otaheite apple, which is better limited to the ambarella, Spondias dulcis Park., and cashew, or French cashew (Guyana) or Otaheite cashew (India) because of its resemblance to the cashew apple, the pseudofruit or swollen fruit-stalk of the cashew nut.
In Malaya there are many local names including jambu merah, jambu bar, jambu bol, jambu melaka, jambu kling and jambu kapal. In Thailand, it is chom-phu-sa-raek or chom-phu-daeng; in Cambodia, chompuh kraham; in Vietnam, man hurong tau; in Indonesia, darsana, jambu tersana, or djamboo bol; in the Philippines, makopang-kalabau or tersana; in Guam, makupa; in Tahiti, ahia; in Hawaii, ohia. In the French language it is jambosier rouge, poire de Malaque, pomme Malac (corrupted to pomerac), pomme de Malaisie, and pomme de Tahiti. Among Spanish names are: pomarosa, or pomarrosa, Malaya (Puerto Rico); manzana (Costa Rica), marañon japonés (EI Salvador), pomarosa de Malaca (Colombia); pera de agua or pomagás (Venezuela); and marañon de Curacao (Panama), though the somewhat similar plant in Curacao is S. samarangense Merr. & Perry, locally called cashu di Surinam, in Papiamento, Curacaose appel, in Dutch. The latter species has yellowish-white flowers and light-red, greenish-white or cream-colored fruits. (See Java apple pp. 381-2.)
Glossy, red, juicy, Malay apples
Fig. 102: Glossy, red, juicy, Malay apples (Syzygium malaccense) are sold in markets and along streets in warm areas of the Old and New World.
The Malay apple tree is rather fast-growing, reaching 40 to 60 ft (12-18 m) in height, and has an erect trunk to 15 ft (4.5 m) in circumference and a pyramidal or cylindrical crown. Its evergreen leaves are opposite, short-petioled, elliptic-lanceolate or oblanceolate; soft-leathery, dark-green and fairly glossy on the upper surface, paler beneath; 6 to 18 in (15-45 cm) long, 3 1/2 to 8 in (9-20 cm) wide. The veins are indistinct above, but they and the pale midrib are prominent on the underside. New growth is wine-red at first, changing to pink-buff. The abundant flowers, only mildly fragrant, and borne on the upper trunk and along leafless portions of mature branches in short-stalked clusters of 2 to 8, are 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 cm) wide, and composed of a funnel-like base topped by 5 thick, green sepals, 4 usually pinkish-purple to dark-red (sometimes white, yellow or orange) petals, and numerous concolorous stamens to 1 1/2 in (4 cm) long tipped with yellow anthers. Though showy, the flowers are hidden by the foliage until they fall and form a lovely carpet on the ground. The fruit, oblong, obovoid, or bell-shaped, 2 to 4 in (5-10 cm.) long, 1 to 3 in (2.5-7.5 cm) wide at the apex, has thin, smooth, waxy skin, rose-red or crimson or sometimes white with streaks of red or pink, and white, crisp or spongy, juicy flesh of very mild, sweetish flavor. There may be a single oblate or nearly round seed or 2 hemispherical seeds, 5/8 to 3/4 in (1.6-2 cm) in width, light-brown externally, green internally and somewhat meaty in texture. The fruits of some trees are entirely seedless.
The ripe fruit is eaten raw though many people consider it insipid. It is best stewed with cloves or other flavoring and served with cream as dessert. Asiatic people in Guyana stew the peeled fruit
, cooking the skin separately to make a sirup which they add to the cooked fruit. Malayan people may add the petals of the red-flowered hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) to make the product more colorful. Malay apples are often cooked with acid fruits to the benefit of both. They are sometimes made into sauce or preserves. The slightly unripe fruits are used for making jelly and pickles..
In Puerto Rico, both red and white table wines are made from the malay apple
. The fruits are picked as soon as they are fully colored (not allowed to fall) and immediately dipped in boiling water for one minute to destroy surface bacteria and fungi. The seeds are removed and, for red wine, the fruits are passed through a meat grinder and the resulting juice and pulp weighed. To this material, they add twice the amount of water and 1 1/2 lbs (680 g) of white sugar per gallon, and pour into sterilized barrels with the mouth covered soon with cheesecloth. Yeast is added and a coil inserted to maintain circulation of the water. The barrels are kept in the coolest place possible for 6 months to 1 year, then the wine is filtered. It will be of a pale-rose color so artificial color is added to give it a rich-red hue. In making white wine, the fruits are peeled, the only liquid is the fruit juice, and less sugar is used, only 1 1/4 lbs (565 g) per gallon, so as to limit alcohol formation over a fermenting period of 3 to 6 months.
In Indonesia, the flowers are eaten in salads or are preserved in sirup. Young leaves and shoots, before turning green, are consumed raw with rice or are cooked and eaten as greens.
Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Moisture 90.3-91.6 g
Protein 0.5-0.7 g
Fat 0.1-0.2 g
Fiber 0.6-0.8 g
Ash 0.26-0.39 g
Calcium 5.6-5.9 mg
Phosphorus 11.6-17.9 mg
Iron 0.2-0.82 mg
Carotene 0.003-0.008 mg
(Vitamin A) 3-10 I.U.
Thiamine 15-39 mcg
Riboflavin 20-39 mcg
Niacin 0.21-0.40 mg
Ascorbic Acid 6.5-17.0 mg
*According to analyses made in Hawaii, El Salvador and Ghana.
Wood: The timber is reddish, soft to hard, tough and heavy, but inclined to warp. It is difficult to work, but is employed for construction, railway ties, and for fashioning bowls and poi-boards in Hawaii.
Medicinal Uses: According to Akana’s translation of Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value, the astringent bark has been much used in local remedies. It is pounded together with salt, the crushed material is strained through coconut husk fiber, and the juice poured into a deep cut. “The patient must exercise absolute self-control as the liquid bums its way into the flesh and nerves.”
In the Molucca, or Spice, Islands, a decoction of the bark is used to treat thrush. Malayans apply a powder of the dried leaves on a cracked tongue. A preparation of the root is a remedy for itching. The root acts as a diuretic and is given to alleviate edema. The root bark is useful against dysentery, also serves as an emmenagogue and abortifacient. Cambodians take a decoction of the fruit, leaves or seeds as a febrifuge. The juice of crushed leaves is applied as a skin lotion and is added to baths. In Brazil, various parts of the plant are used as remedies for constipation, diabetes, coughs, pulmonary catarrh, headache and other ailments. Seeded fruits, seeds, bark and leaves have shown antibiotic activity and have some effect on blood pressure