Characteristics of Java Plum Tree (Syzygium cumini) in the Wild

Syzygium cumini
The Java plum or Malabar plum is a species of tree in the Myrtaceae family, native to the Indian, Chinese, and Australian subcontinent. The fruit is sometimes confused with Blackberry, however, it is a distinct and unrelated fruit.

The Java plum tree had been spread to many tropical regions by Indian emigrants and today the tree is definitely in the former British colony.

This tree was first introduced to Florida in 1911 by the USDA and is now widely grown in Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

In Brazil, Java plums were introduced from India during Portuguese colonization, then spread naturally in the wild in several places.

The 1889 book The Useful Native Plants of Australia notes that the Java plum tree is referred to as “Durobbi” by the Indigenous Australians, and “This fruit is widely eaten by native Indians. It resembles damson, has tough properties but a slight taste. sweet, astringent, and sour. The fruit is also very popular with birds and is a favorite food of the big bat or flying fox.”


Characteristics of Java Plum Leaf

Syzygium cumini Leaf
Source : and Kim Starr

Its dense foliage provides shade underneath.

Java plum leaves have an aroma similar to turpentine, are red when light, and slowly turn dark green, rough, and shiny.


Characteristics of Java Plum Flower

Syzygium cumini Flower
Source : and Kim Starr

Java plum trees bloom in March-April. The flowers are small and fragrant about 5 mm in diameter.


Characteristics of Java Plum Fruit

Syzygium cumini Fruit
Source : Ramcharan

The fruit appears in May-June and is shaped like large berries, ovate, green when young and blackish purple when ripe.

Java plum fruit has a combination of sweet, sour, and astringent flavors. If the ripe fruit is eaten directly, it makes the tongue purple.


Characteristics of Java Plum Tree

Syzygium cumini Tree
Source :

The Java plum tree is slow-growing, however, it can reach a height of 30 meters and can live for more than 100 years.

The Java plum tree is also often planted as an ornamental yard tree as well as a tree that can be harvested from its fruit.


The bark is rough and dark gray. The wood is resistant to humidity and water. Therefore, Java plum wood is used as a railroad bearing. Sometimes it is used for making furniture and construction.

The leaves are used as food for livestock because they have good nutritional value.

The dried leaves are used to make cigarettes on the islands of the Philippines.

The seeds of the fruit are used in a variety of alternative healing herbs such as Ayurveda, Unani and Chinese medicine.

Java plum fruit and seed extracts are effective against hyperglycemia in diabetes.

Wine and vinegar on the market are also made from the Java plum fruit extract. It has a high content of vitamin A and vitamin C.


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