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Syzygium cumini - (L.) Skeels.

Common Name Jambolan, Java Plum, Malabar Plum, Jambu
Family Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness 8-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Most tropical and subtropical forest habitats in India, ranging from evergreen broadleaved to deciduous and coniferous, from wet to fairly dry areas, near the coast and even in swamps[303 ].
Range E. Asia - China, India, Malaysia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Syzygium cumini Jambolan, Java Plum, Malabar Plum, Jambu

Syzygium cumini Jambolan, Java Plum, Malabar Plum, Jambu


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Syzygium cumini, Jambolan or otherwise known as Java Plum, is a medium-sized tropical and evergreen tree, about 10-30 m in height. The leaves are smooth, opposite, shiny, leathery and oval. The flowers are pink or nearly white. The fruits are oval, green to black when ripe, with dark purple flesh. it contains a large seed. The seeds and fruits are used in the treatment of diabetes. Seeds and bark are used against dysentery. Bark juice is used for treating wounds and enlargement of the spleen. Bark infusion is used to treat irregular menstruation, diarrhea, dysentery, children's thrush, etc. Fruits are used in the treatment of colic and diarrhea. Leaf infusion is used for diarrhea and diabetes. Fruits can be eaten raw or processed into desserts. It is juicy, purple, and olive-shaped. Jambolan also functions as a hedge in some areas and is interplanted with crops as a shade tree. The bark is a source of tannins and brown dye used in coloring and preserving fish nets. The branches are uses to whiten teeth. The wood is used in exterior joinery and carpentry, construction, boat building, plywood, agricultural implements, furniture, etc. Jambolan can tolerate waterlogged conditions and can withstand strong winds.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Syzygium cumini is an evergreen Shrub growing to 25 m (82ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is not frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Flies, Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Eugenia cumini (L.) Druce. Eugenia jambolana Lam. Jambolifera sinensis Spreng. Myrtus cumini L. Syzy

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Seed
Edible Uses: Coffee  Drink

Fruit - raw or made into jams, sherbet, jellies, juice, tarts, puddings etc[301 , 418 ]. The fruit is juicy, almost odourless, with a pleasant, slightly bitter, astringent taste[303 ]. The purple, olive-shaped fruit is somewhat astringent[301 ]. The astringency can be removed by soaking the fruit in salt water prior to cooking it[301 ]. The fruit tends to be of variable quality, at best it is pleasantly and mildly acidic[200 ]. The oblong fruit is about 20mm long x 18mm wide[200 ]. A coffee-like beverage is made from the dried and ground up seeds[348 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Antidiarrhoeal  Astringent  Carminative  Diuretic  Dysentery  Epilepsy  Hypoglycaemic  Mouthwash

Both the seeds and the fruit are diuretic and have important carminative and astringent properties[254 ]. The seeds also reduce blood sugar levels and are useful in the treatment of diabetes[254 , 348 ]. The seeds and bark are well known in the Far East for the treatment of dysentery and in the control of hyperglycaemia and glycosuria in diabetic patients[303 ]. The juice of the bark is considered good for treating wounds and enlargement of the spleen[272 ]. The bark is astringent[303 , 348 ]. An infusion is used to treat irregular menstruation, diarrhoea, dysentery, children's thrush etc[348 ]. The bark is used as a gargle to strengthen gums, treat mouth ulcers etc[303 ]. The ripe fruit is astringent and is used as an effective treatment for diabetes[272 ]. Fruits are used as a relief for colic and to treat diarrhoea[303 , 348 ]. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of diabetes and diarrhoea[348 ]. The wood yields a sulphate pulp that has medicinal uses[303 ]. The roots are sometimes used as a treatment for epilepsy[254 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Containers  Cosmetic  Furniture  Hedge  Preservative  Shelterbelt  Tannin  Teeth  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The plant is amenable to trimming and can be grown as a hedge or to provide shelter from the wind[418 ]. In perennial plant systems it is often interplanted as a shade-provider with crops such as bananas, coffee and cocoa[310 , 418 ]. The flowers are very attractive to bees, yielding a quality honey[418 ]. Other Uses The bark contains 13 - 19% tannins[272 ]. It has served in tanning and also yields a brown dye that has been used in colouring and preserving fishnets[303 ]. The branches are used to whiten the teeth[348 ]. The reddish-grey or reddish-brown heartwood is fine grained and is utilized in exterior joinery and carpentry. Wood is durable in water, resistant to termites[272 , 303 ], and although difficult to work, it saws and machines well and is used for construction, boat building, commercial tea and chest plywood, agricultural implements, tool handles, cart wheels, well curbs and troughs, sleepers, furniture and as props for shafts and galleries in mines. It is also used for building bridges and for making musical instruments, especially guitars[303 ].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Coppice  Food Forest  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 2,000 metres[303 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 32°c, but can tolerate 12 - 48°c[418 ]. Mature growth can be killed by temperatures of -2°c or lower, whilst young growth is killed at -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 6,000mm, but tolerates 800 - 9,900mm[418 ]. Plants can withstand a dry season of up to 6 - 7 months[418 ]. Although it prefers a sunny position, plants are moderately shade-tolerant, especially when young[303 , 418 ]. A very versatile plant able to grow on a wide range of soils, it can even grow on shallow, rocky soils provided the rainfall is sufficient[303 , 418 ]. It tolerates prolonged flooding, and once established, it can tolerate drought[303 ]. In dry sites, it generally confines itself to the vicinity of watercourses[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4.5 - 8[418 ]. Plants are tolerant of quite strong winds[310 ]. Trees self-sow freely and may become serious pests in pastures[303 ]. The plant is listed as undesirable in Florida[307 ]. A fast-growing plant[335 , 416 ]. Seedlings may reach a height of 4 metres in only 2 years[303 , 418 ]. The tree coppices remarkably well; vigorous shoots are produced in large numbers from small and large stumps alike. Coppice stands along streams have been reported that grew to 4.6 metres in 4 years[303 ]. The best forms are frequently cultivated in Java and Florida[303 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Summer. Bloom Color: White/Near White. Spacing: over 40 ft. (12 m).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - freshly collected seeds are normally sown in nursery beds at a depth of 20 - 25mm during the rainy season and germinate in 2 - 4 weeks at a rate 20 - 90%[303 ]. Plants are pricked out when 6 - 9 months old into beds 30 x 30 cm[303 ]. For development of seedlings, moisture is even more important than shade, as seedlings in the sun develop well, provided the soil is kept moist, but seedlings in the shade die if the soil is dry[303 ]. Seedlings are somewhat frost tender, particularly on grassy ground, where they are frequently killed back[303. Sapling growth is faster than seedling growth. Seedlings 1-3 years old can be planted out without any difficulty[303 ]. Air-layering. Grafting.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Aceituna dulce, Bak waa, Dinkikudadaru, Duhat, Duwet, Gyayabo pesjua, Hai nan pu tao, Indian black cherry, Jaam, Jalao, Jam esing, Jam, Jaman, Jamblang, Jambolanier, Jambu, Jambul, Jambulao, Jamelao, Jamli, Jammu, Jamo, Jamoa, Jamoon, Jamun, Janboran, Jangmi, Jiwat, Juwan-juwan, Juwet, Kalajam, Kano, Kaujabaqei, Khorjam, Kolajam, Kola jamu, Koriang, Koth ja, Lenhmui, Len-hmui, Lomboy, Look hwa, Lunaboy, Lushanaku, Ma-ha, Msambarau, Mui chi, Mzambarau, Naval, Neereedu, Neradi, Nerale, Neredam, Okak, Paiman, Perinnaral, Pesjua extranjera, Phalinda, Phoberkung, Pring ba'y, Salam, Sambal, Sepuinusu, Thabye, Thei-vom, Va, Voi rung, Wa pu, Zambalawe, Zambarau, alla nereduchettu, amun, azeitona-roxa, badjam, black alum tree, black plum, black plum|madan/mahadan, blackberry, damson plum, duhat plum, dzam-bu, gambu, gandijambu, guayabo pesgua, iambul, jaam, jaamun, jabu, jam, jam kol, jaman, jambhool, jamblang, jamblon, jamblong, jambol seed, jambolan, jambolan plum, jambolanapflaume, jambolanier, jambolanäpple, jamboloan, jambolão, jambosier, jambovlan, jambu, jambu nerale, jambuda, jambul, jambul tree, jambula, jambu (seed), jambu (stem bark), jamelongier, jamelonguier, jammu, jamneralae, jamu, jamu kol, jamukoli, jamun, jamuna, jamuno, jamunu, jamélongue, java plum, java-plum, jomuna, jumbul, kala jamun, kalajam, ksudrajambu, kulekhara, li-shi, mahajambu, mahamaram, makalimse, malabar plum, malabar-plum, mangret, mela rosa, merale, mesegerak, naaval, nagal, naval, naval pazham, navval sambu, neralamara, nerale beeja, nerale hannu, neredu chettu, neredupandu, nesedu, njaval, phandil, phanir, phanrid, pitanga, pitlemsi, pitumse, portuguese plum, portuguese-plum, raja jambu, raja jambuda, robazaha, rose-apple, rosenapfel, rotra, rotrambazaha, rotravazaha, sokod, syzygii cumini cortex, syzygii cumini semen, syzygium jambolanum, syzygiumrinde, syzygiumsamen, varotra, wachs-jambuse, wachsjambuse, yambolana, yuyam, zanblon.

Australia; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Self-sow freely and may become serious pests in pastures[303 ]. The plant is listed as undesirable in Florida[307 ].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Syzygium aromaticumClove, Zanzibar RedheadTree20.0 11-12 SLMSNM443
Syzygium australeBrush CherryShrub3.0 6-12  LMHSNM403
Syzygium jambosJambos, Rose Apple, Plum RoseTree8.0 9-12 MLMHSNMWe324
Syzygium paniculatumBrush CherryShrub5.0 9-11  LMHSNM102

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(L.) Skeels.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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