Syzygium cumini

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"Jamun" redirects here. For the dessert popular in Indian cuisine, see Gulab Jamun.
Syzygium cumini
Syzygium cumini Bra30.png
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Syzygium
Species: S. cumini
Binomial name
Syzygium cumini
(L.) Skeels.
  • Calyptranthes caryophyllifolia Willd.
  • Calyptranthes cumini (L.) Pers.
  • Calyptranthes cuminodora Stokes
  • Calyptranthes jambolana (Lam.) Willd.
  • Calyptranthes jambolifera Stokes
  • Calyptranthes oneillii Lundell
  • Caryophyllus corticosus Stokes
  • Caryophyllus jambos Stokes
  • Eugenia calyptrata Roxb. ex Wight & Arn.
  • Eugenia caryophyllifolia Lam.
  • Eugenia cumini (L.) Druce
  • Eugenia djouat Perrier
  • Eugenia jambolana Lam.
  • Eugenia jambolifera Roxb. ex Wight & Arn.
  • Eugenia obovata Poir.
  • Eugenia obtusifolia Roxb.
  • Eugenia tsoi Merr. & Chun
  • Jambolifera chinensis Spreng.
  • Jambolifera coromandelica Houtt.
  • Jambolifera pedunculata Houtt.
  • Myrtus corticosa Spreng.
  • Myrtus cumini L.
  • Myrtus obovata (Poir.) Spreng.
  • Syzygium caryophyllifolium (Lam.) DC.
  • Syzygium jambolanum (Lam.) DC.
  • Syzygium obovatum (Poir.) DC.
  • Syzygium obtusifolium (Roxb.) Kostel.

Syzygium cumini, known as jambul, jambolan, jamblang or jamun, is an evergreen tropical tree in the flowering plant family Myrtaceae. Syzygium cumini is native to the Indian Subcontinent and adjoining regions of Southeast Asia. The species ranges across India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.[citation needed] The name of the fruit is sometimes mistranslated as blackberry, which is a different fruit in an unrelated family. Syzygium cumini has been spread overseas from India by Indian emigrants and at present is common in former tropical British colonies.[2]

The tree was introduced to Florida, United States in 1911 by the USDA, and is also now commonly grown in Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. In Brazil, where it was introduced from India during Portuguese colonization, it has dispersed spontaneously in the wild in some places, as its fruits are eagerly sought by various native birds such as thrushes, tanagers and the great kiskadee. This species is considered an invasive in Hawaii, United States.[3] It is also illegal to grow, plant or transplant in Sanibel, Florida.[4]

Common names[edit]

Syzygium cumini plant

In English, Syzygium cumini is also known as Java plum,[5] Malabar plum and Portuguese plum. Malabar plum may also refer to other species of Syzygium.


A slow growing species, it can reach heights of up to 30 m and can live more than 100 years. Its dense foliage provides shade and is grown just for its ornamental value. At the base of the tree, the bark is rough and dark grey, becoming lighter grey and smoother higher up. The wood is water resistant. Because of this it is used in railway sleepers and to install motors in wells. It is sometimes used to make cheap furniture and village dwellings though it is relatively hard to work on.

The leaves which have an aroma similar to turpentine, are pinkish when young, changing to a leathery, glossy dark green with a yellow midrib as they mature. The leaves are used as food for livestock, as they have good nutritional value.[6]

Flower bud and open flowers
Syzygium cumini fruit color changing from green to pink to blood red to black as it matures

Syzygium cumini trees start flowering from March to April. The flowers are fragrant and small, about 5 mm in diameter. The fruits develop by May or June and resemble large berries; the fruit of Syzygium species is described as "drupaceous".[7] The fruit is oblong, ovoid. Unripe fruit looks green. As it matures, its color changes to pink, then to shining crimson red and finally to black color. A variant of the tree produces white coloured fruit. The fruit has a combination of sweet, mildly sour and astringent flavour and tends to colour the tongue purple.

Health effects[edit]

The seed of the fruit is used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda (to control diabetes, for example.[8][9]), Unani and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments.

Wine and vinegar are also made from the fruit. It has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C.[10][11][12]

Nutrients and phytochemicals[edit]

Java-plum, (jambolan), raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 251 kJ (60 kcal)
14 g
Dietary fiber 0.6 g
0.23 g
0.995 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.019 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.009 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.245 mg
Vitamin B6
0.038 mg
Vitamin C
11.85 mg
11.65 mg
1.41 mg
35 mg
15.6 mg
55 mg
26.2 mg
Other constituents
Water 84.75 g

Link to Newcrop entry
Link to USDA Database entry
Newcrop values given as averages
Calories/B6 from USDA
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Nutritional information for S. cumini leaves and fruit are detailed here.

Java Plum Leaf
Compound Percent
Crude Protein 9.1
Fat 4.3
Crude Fiber 17.0
Ash 7
Calcium 1.3
Phosphorus 0.19

Cultural and religious significance[edit]

Lord Krishna is also known to have four symbols of the jambu fruit on his right foot as mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam commentary (verse 10.30.25), "Sri Rupa Cintamani" and "Ananda Candrika" by Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura.[13]


In Maharashtra, S. cumini leaves are used in marriage pandal decorations. There is famous Marathi song "Jambhul pikalya zada khali...". The seeds are used in herbal teas for diabetes.

Andhra Pradesh[edit]

Besides the fruits, wood from Neredu tree is used in Andhra Pradesh to make bullock cart wheels and other agricultural equipment.The timber of Neredu is used to construct doors and windows. Hindus use a sizable branch of the tree to inaugurate beginning of marriage preparations and plant it in a place a pandal will be erected. Culturally, beautiful eyes are compared to this fruit. In the great epic of India Mahabharatha Sri Krishnas'[Lord Vishnu] body color is compared to this fruit as well.These are also good for sugar patients.

Tamil Nadu[edit]

There is a very famous legend that is associated with Auvaiyar (also Auvayar), a prominent female poet/ethicist/political activist of Sangam period (Tamil literature), and Naval Pazham(Jambu) in Tamil Nadu. Auvaiyar, believing to have achieved everything that is to be achieved, said to have been pondering over her retirement from Tamil literary work while resting under Naval Pazham tree. But she was met with and was wittily jousted by a disguised Lord Murugan (regarded as one of the guardian deities of Tamil language), who later revealed himself and made her realize that there is still a lot more to be done and learnt. Following this awakening, Auvaiyar is believed to have undertaken a fresh set of literary works, targeted at children.


The fruit is particularly plentiful in Kollam.


The fruit is widely used to treat diabetes. Bears like this fruit. This tree is commonly found in the rural regions of Karnataka.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 31 May 2013 – via The Plant List. 
  2. ^ Syzygium cumini
  3. ^ [1] Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER), retrieved November 3rd, 2010
  4. ^ [2] Go fertilizer free, retrieved September 21st, 2012
  5. ^ Eugenia Jambolana: Madagascar, Suzanne Urverg Ratsimamanga. Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA), Antananarivo, Madagascar.
  6. ^ The encyclopedia of fruit & nuts, By Jules Janick, Robert E. Paull, p. 552
  7. ^ Chen, Jie & Craven, Lyn A., "Syzygium", in Wu, Zhengyi; Raven, Peter H. & Hong, Deyuan, Flora of China (online),, retrieved 2015-08-13 
  8. ^ [3] Article in The Hindu, retrieved June 23, 2007
  9. ^ [4] Tips for Health: Wofome
  10. ^ [5] Syzygium Cumini, retrieved November 3rd, 2010
  11. ^ [6] TopTropicals plant catalog, retrieved November 3rd, 2010
  12. ^ [7] Antioxidant actions and phenolic and vitamin C contents of common Mauritian exotic fruits, by Amitabye Luximon-Ramma1, Theeshan Bahorun1, and Alan Crozier, retrieved November 3rd, 2010
  13. ^ Vishvanatha, Cakravarti Thakura (2011). Sarartha-darsini (Bhanu Swami ed.). Sri Vaikunta Enterprises. p. 790. ISBN 978-81-89564-13-1. 

External links[edit]