Monday, May 15, 2017

Rose apple (Syzygium jambos)

Syzygium jambos is a small tree or large shrub bearing delicious yellow fruits with the flavor of rosewater.
The yellow blooms are borne in clusters at the ends of the previous season's growth. In subtropical locations flowering usually occurs in spring. The flowers consist of numerous stamens and one stigma, and the trees are quite showy when in bloom.

The clusters of yellow fruits ripen 3 months after flowering. Individual fruits are about an inch in diameter. When fully ripe they will drop from the tree, but they can be picked once they have turned from green to solid yellow.

The fruits are hollow and usually contain 1 or 2 seeds. The flesh is slightly crunchy and somewhat dry, but with an amazing aroma and flavor reminiscent of rosewater. They are usually eaten fresh, but can also be made into jams, jellies, or syrup.

The seeds are dark brown, and have a rough, almost sandpaper texture.They are poly-embryonic and may produce 1 to 3 seedlings from each seed.

Syzygium jambos grows to about 20-30 feet tall, often with multiple trunks. Some specimens get much larger. Leaves are opposite, lanceolate, and about 8 inches long by 2 inches wide.

New growth is a coppery-red color, gradually turning dark green as the leaves harden off.
The bark on the trunk is gray and slightly furrowed.

This species is believed to be native to Southeast Asia, but is grown in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. It is recommended for USDA Zones 9b-11.

Propagation is generally by seed, but air-layers are also possible. Cuttings have a low success rate.

Syzygium jambos is commonly known as Rose Apple.