Syzygium samarangense is a plant species in the family Myrtaceae, native to an area that includes the Greater Sunda Islands, Malay Peninsula and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but introduced in prehistoric times to a wider area and now widely cultivated in the tropics. Common names in English include wax apple, Java apple, Semarang rose-apple and wax jambu.
Syzygium samarangense is a tropical tree growing to 12 metres (39 ft) tall, with evergreen leaves 10–25 centimetres (4–10 in) long and 5–10 centimetres (2–4 in) broad. The leaves are ellipitic, but rounded at the base; they are aromatic when crushed. The trunk is relatively short, with a wide – yet open – crown starting low on the tree. The bark is pinkish-gray in color, and flakes readily.
The flowers are white to yellowish-white, 2.5 cm (1 in) diameter, with four petals and numerous stamens. They form in panicles of between 3 and 30 near branch tips. The resulting fruit is a bell-shaped, edible berry, with colors ranging from white, pale green, or green to red, purple, or crimson, to deep purple or even black. The fruit grows 4–6 centimetres (1.6–2.4 in) long in wild plants, and has 4 fleshy calyx lobes at the tip. The skin is thin, and the flesh is white and spongy. Each berry holds 1–2 rounded seeds not larger than .8 centimetres (0.3 in). The flowers and resulting fruit are not limited to the axils of the leaves, and can appear on nearly any point on the surface of the trunk and branches. When mature, the tree is considered a heavy bearer, yielding a crop of up to 700 fruits.
When ripe, the fruit will puff outwards, with a slight concavity in the middle of the underside of the "bell". Healthy wax apples have a light sheen to them. Despite its name, a ripe wax apple only resembles an apple on the outside in color. It does not taste like an apple, and it has neither the fragrance nor the density of an apple. Its flavor is similar to a snow pear, and the liquid-to-flesh ratio of the wax apple is comparable to a watermelon. Unlike either apple or watermelon, the wax apple's flesh has a very loose weave. The very middle holds a seed situated in a sort of cotton-candy-like mesh. This mesh is edible, but flavorless. The color of its juice depends on the cultivar; it may be purple to entirely colorless.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||105 kJ (25 kcal)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
A number of cultivars with larger fruit have been selected. In general, the paler or darker the color, the sweeter it is.[clarification needed] In Southeast Asia, the black ones are nicknamed "Black Pearl" or "Black Diamond", while the very pale greenish-white ones, called "Pearl", are among the highest priced ones in fruit markets. The fruit is often served uncut, but with the core removed, to preserve the unique bell-shaped presentation. In the cuisine of Indian Ocean islands, the fruit is frequently used in salads, as well as in lightly sautéed dishes. It is mainly eaten as a fruit and also used to make pickles (chambakka achar). In the Philippines, its local name is macopa. Because of their similarity in appearance, it is often confused with tambis (Syzygium aqueum), although the latter is more commonly cultivated.
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- "Syzygium samarangense". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- Julia F. Morton (1987). "Java apple". Fruits of Warm Climates. Miami, FL: Florida Flair Books. pp. 381–382. ISBN 978-0-9610184-1-2.
- "Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & L.M.Perry". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 14 March 2016.
- "Syzygium samarangense". Singapore National Parks.
- Janick, Jules; Paull, Robert (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts. CABI. pp. 552, 553.