Characteristics of Bisbul Tree (Diospyros blancoi) in the Wild

Diospyros blancoi
Bisbul (Diospyros blancoi) is a species of tree from the Ebenaceae family, which is native to the Philippines and has been cultivated in many tropical countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.

This tree is related to the Persimmon (Diospyros kaki), Ajan Kelicung (Diospyros macrophylla), Macassar Ebony (Diospyros celebica), Mountain Persimmon (Diospyros montana), and Black Maba (Diospyros ferrea).

Common names used by the community to refer to this tree are Buah mentega or Buah lemak (Malay, referring to the flesh when ripe), Sembolo (Javanese), Kamagong, Tabang, or Mabolo (Tagalog, referring to the skin of the fruit), Marit (Thai), Amaga or Camagón (Spain), and Velvet apple (English).

The bisbul tree is mainly grown for its fruit, which can be eaten fresh or as a mixture of drinks and salad. Because of its good canopy, bisbul trees are also often planted in parks and roadsides. The wood is of good quality, reddish-brown to black, fine-textured, strong, hard, and durable.

Diospyros blancoi is a valuable tree and is protected by law. The IUCN Redlist has categorized this tree as Vulnerable (VU).

 

Characteristics of Bisbul Leaf

Diospyros blancoi Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/naturalist70662

The leaves are arranged alternately, oval in shape, measuring 3-12 × 8-30 cm, flat-edged, with a rounded base and a tapered tip, stems about 1.5 cm. The upper side of the leaf is dark green, shiny, the underside is downy, silvery. Young leaves light green to pink.

 

Characteristics of Bisbul Flower

Diospyros blancoi Flower
Source: inaturalist.org/shivaprakash

Two housed, male flowers arranged in forging umbrellas, 3-7 buds, numbered 4, tubular corolla, milky white. The female flowers are solitary, short-stemmed, and appear in the axils of the leaves.

 

Characteristics of Bisbul Fruit

Diospyros blancoi Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/wilson_john

The fruit varies greatly in shape, color, taste, and plumage. Generally, the bisbul fruit is spherical or ovoid, measuring 5-12 × 8-10 cm, smooth like velvet, reddish-brown then bright red, and then slightly dull when ripe, with a “cap” of flower petals that do not fall off.

The flesh of the fruit is whitish, slightly hard and dense, slightly dry, sweet, slightly astringent, and smells good, covered with thin, hairy skin. The smell is a bit like cheese and durian, for some people it feels nauseous. Each fruit contains up to 10 seeds, brown, wedge-shaped somewhat like an orange wedge, measuring 4 × 2.5 × 1.5 cm.

Bisbul fruit contains calcium, B vitamins, iron, protein, and antioxidant phenolic compounds.

 

Characteristics of Bisbul Tree

Diospyros blancoi Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/insyirah_ar

Bisbul grows as a medium-sized tree up to 20 meters in height, although generally only about 15 meters or less. Trunk straight, with a black or black trunk, up to 50 cm in diameter or more at the base of the stem, branching more or less horizontally and terraced, with the overall crown of a thick cone and densely packed leaves so dark inside.

The wood is very dense and hard and is famous for its dark color. Like many other very hardwoods, it is sometimes called “ironwood”. Baseball wood is most often used to make luxury furniture.

Bisbul tree grows well in tropical monsoon climates, on various types of soil up to an altitude of 800 m asl. In the Philippines, bisbul bears fruit between June-September, but in Bogor, Indonesia this tree bears fruit between March-May.

 

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