Syzygium malaccense

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Related Links
Rose apple fruit, about 2-3 inches long, are juicy and sweet, but do not store well.
© Lee RF
Rose apple or jambu tree in Brazil. This tree is about 10 meter high. Note the blossom petal drop beneath the tree. The tree blooms twice a year in most areas of Brazil.
© Lee RF
Laulau flower & leaves
© French B.
Habit at Hana Hwy, Maui, Hawaii
© Forest and Kim Starr
Fruits at Hana Hwy, Maui, Hawaii
© Forest and Kim Starr

Local names:
Burmese (thabyo-thabyay), English (wax jambu,malay-apple,long fruited rose-apple), Filipino (tersana,pomerac), French (poirier de Malaque), German (Apfel- Jambose), Indonesian (jambu bol), Malay (jambu bol), Spanish (Pomarrosa malay), Thai (chomphu-sarae

Syzygium malaccense is a tree to 20 m tall, with straight trunk, 20-45 cm diameter, often branched near the base and with broadly ovoid canopy.

Leaves opposite, elliptic-oblong, 15-38 cm x 7-20 cm, thick-coriaceous, petiole 0.5-1.5 cm long, thick, red when young.

Inflorescences exclusively on defoliate twig-parts, short and dense, 1-12- flowered; flowers 5-7 cm in diameter, red; calyx-tube ventricose towards apex, 1.5-2 cm long, with broad lobes 4-8 mm long; petals 4, oblong-ovate or orbicular-ovate, up to 2 cm long, dark red; stamens numerous, up to 3.5 cm long, with red filaments; style 3-4.5 cm long, red. 

Fruit a berry, ellipsoid, 5-8 cm in diameter, crowned by the incurved non-fleshy calyx segments, dark red or purplish-yellow or yellow-white; flesh 0.5-2.5 cm thick, juicy, white, fragrant. 

Seed 1 per fruit, globose, 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter, brown.


The trees are at home in fairly moist tropical lowlands up to 1200 m elevation. Malay apple is restricted to the wetter climates. The species require a reliable water supply and are often planted along streams or ponds.

Native range
Indonesia, Malaysia

Tree management

Tree spacing ranges from 6-8 m. The trees receive little attention after the first year or two when manuring, weeding, mulching and watering ensure rapid increase of tree volume. Trees which bear well benefit from compound fertilizers applied after harvest and supplemented with a top dressing as soon as the inflorescences are being formed. There appears to be no experience with pruning or fruit thinning. Malay apple yields of 20-85 kg/tree are reported.


The trees are at home in fairly moist tropical lowlands up to 1200 m elevation. Malay apple is restricted to the wetter climates. The species require a reliable water supply and are often planted along streams or ponds.

Propagation from seed is common. Seeds are sometimes abortive. Seeds lose their viability quickly and should be sown fresh from the fruit. Clonal propagation through air layers, cuttings or budding is not difficult. Air layering is commonly employed in South-East Asia. The modified Forkert method is recommended for budding. Seedlings of the same or other Syzygium species are used as rootstocks. In Java 'jambu klampok' or 'kopo' (S. pycnanthum Merr. & Perry, syn. Eugenia densiflora (Blume) Duthie) is recommended as rootstock because it is hardy and not attacked by termites.

 The tree is grown for their fruit, which substitute for one another in the marketplace. Whereas S. malaccense can easily be recognized, it is not easy to distinguish between the various S. aqueum and S. samarangense fruits. The ripe fruit is sweet and is mainly eaten fresh.  Malay apples are often stewed with other fruit to tone down the sour taste of the latter. The Malay apple is usually red with pink or white streaks; the flesh is thick, rather dry and scented, but often insipid. Eighty per cent or more of the fruit is edible. The composition of the species per 100 g edible portion is similar with S. samarangense: water more than 90%, protein 0.3 g, fat none, carbohydrates 3.9 g, fibre 1 g, vitamin A 253 IU, vitamin B1 and B2 traces, vitamin C 0.1 mg, energy value 80 kJ/100 g (analysis for S. samarangense in Thailand).

Timber: The wood is reddish, hard and grows to dimensions large enough for construction purposes.

Medicine: Various parts of the tree are used in traditional medicine, and some have in fact been shown to possess antibiotic activity. In particular the bark, leaves and roots of Malay apple are used against different ailments in a number of countries, also outside Asia (e.g. Hawaii, Brazil).