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  • Syzygium cumini (Photo: Dr Gerald Carr, University of Hawai i)
  • Syzygium cumini (Photo: Dr Gerald Carr, University of Hawai i)
Common name
jambol (English, Brazil), djoowet (English, Java), jamelao (English, Brazil), koeli (English, Surinam), guayabo pesjua (English, Venezuela), pesjua extranjera (English, Venezuela), jamoen (English, Surinam), jalao (English, Brazil), jambulao (English, Brazil), druif (English, Surinam), jaman (English, India/Malaya), jamelongue (English, India/Malaya), jambu (English, India/Malaya), jamelong (English, India/Malaya), jambhool (English, India/Malaya), jambool (English, India/Malaya), salam (English, India/Malaya), jambul (English, India/Malaya), jiwat (English, India/Malaya), jamblang (English, India/Malaya), koriang (English, India/Malaya), jambolanier (French), faux-pistachier (French), Java plum (English), jamelon-guier (French), jamelonguier (English, New Caledonia), jambolan plum (English), paramu (English, Cook Islands (Aitutaki)), damson plum (English, Jamaica), Portuguese plum (English), duhat (English, Philippines), Ka'ika (English, Cook Islands), mesekerrak (English, Palau), wa (English, Thailand), mesegerak (English, Palau), duhat (English, Guam), Malabar plum (English), pistati (English, Cook Islands), black plum (English), lomboy (English, Philippines), kavika ni India (English, Fiji), jammun (English, Fiji), indian blackberry (English, Jamaica), purple plum (English), pring bai (English, Cambodia), ma-ha (English, Thailand), va (English, Laos), pring das krebey (English, Cambodia), voi rung (English, Vietnam), mesigerak (English, Palau), lunaboy (English, Philippines), doowet (English, Java), jamélongue (French), mesekerrák (English, Palau)
Eugenia cumini , (L.) Druce
Syzygium jambolana , (Lam.) DC.
Eugenia jambolana , Lam.
Syzygium jambolanum , DC.
Calyptranthes oneillii , Lundell
Eugenia caryophyllifolia , Lam.
Eugenia cumini , (L.) Druce
Eugenia jambolana , Lam.
Myrtus cumini , L.
Syzygium caryophyllifolium , (Lam.) DC.
Syzygium jambolanum , (Lam.) DC.
Calyptranthes caryophyllifolia , (Lam.) Willd.
Similar species
Syzygium cumini has been introduced to many different places where it has been utilised as a fruit producer, as an ornamental and also for its timber. It has the ability to form a dense cover, excluding all other species. This characteristic has allowed Syzygium cumini to become invasive in Hawaii where it prevents the re-establishment of native lowland forest and very invasive in the Cook Islands and in French Polynesia. This tree has not been evaluated for biological control, but vigorous efforts to exterminate it with herbicides are taking place in Hawaii.
Species Description
\"The jambolan is fast-growing, reaching full size in 40 years. It ranges up to 100 feet (30m) in India and Oceania; up to 40 or 50 feet (12-15m) in Florida; and it may attain a spread of 36 feet (11m) with a trunk diameter of 2 or 3 feet (0.6-0.9m). It usually forks into multiple trunks, a short distance from the ground. The bark on the lower part of the tree is rough, cracked, flaking and discoloured; further up the trunk it is smooth and light-grey. The turpentine-scented evergreen leaves are opposite, 2 to 10 inches (5-25cm) long, 1 to 4 inches (2.5-10cm) wide; oblong-oval or elliptic, blunt or tapering to a point at the apex; pinkish when young; when mature, leathery, glossy, dark-green above, lighter beneath, with conspicuous, yellowish midrib. The fragrant flowers, in 1to 4 inches (2.5-10cm) clusters, are 1/2 inch (1.25cm) wide, 1 inch (2.5cm) or more in length; have a funnel-shaped calyx and 4 to 5 united petals, white at first, then rose-pink, which quickly shed leaving only the numerous stamens.
The fruit, in clusters, is round or oblong, often curved; 1/2 to 2 inches. (1.25 - 5cm) long, and usually turns from green to light-magenta, then dark-purple or nearly black as it ripens. A white-fruited form has been reported in Indonesia. The skin is thin, smooth, glossy, and adherent. The pulp is purple or white, very juicy and normally encloses a single, oblong, green or brown seed, up to 1 1/2 inches. (4cm) in length, though some fruits have 2 to 5 seeds tightly compressed within a leathery coat and some are seedless. The fruit is usually astringent, sometimes unpalatably so, and the flavour varies from acid to fairly sweet.\" (Morton, J. 1987)
In southern Asia, the tree is venerated by Buddhists, and it is commonly planted near Hindu temples because it is considered sacred to Krishna. The leaves and fruis are employed in worship, (Morton, J. 1987). It is not really fire resistant, but fires are rarely intense enough in the stands to produce other than peripheral damage, (Smith, 1998).
Lifecycle Stages
\"The fruit is in season in the Marquesas in April; in the Philippines, from mid-May to mid-June. In Hawai‘i, the crop ripens in late summer and fall. Flowering occurs in Java in July and August and the fruits ripen in September and October. In Ceylon, the tree blooms from May to August and the fruit is harvested in November and December. The main fruiting season in southern Florida (where the tree blooms principally in February and March) extends through late May, June and July. Small second crops from late blooms have been observed in October. Individual trees may habitually bear later than others.\" (Morton, J. 1987). In India “Jamun is never leafless in the moist localities, the new coppery leaves start before the old leaves fall, however, in dry localities, it becomes leafless for a short period of time in the hot season. Usually leaves start falling about January and continue doing so during February and March.” (Luna 1996)
Jambolan fruit can be eaten raw and can be made into tarts, sauces and jams. Good quality jambolan juice is excellent for sherbet, sirup and \"squash\", an Indian drink. In Goa and the Philippines, jambolans are an important source of wine, somewhat like Port, and the distilled liquors, brandy and \"jambava\" have also been made from the fermented fruit. Can also be made into Vinegar. The jambolan tree is of real value in apiculture. The flowers have abundant nectar, and the honey is of fine quality.
The leaves have served as fodder for livestock and as food for tassar silkworms in India. In Zanzibar and Pemba, the natives use young jambolan shoots for cleaning their teeth. The essential oil distilled from the leaves is used to scent soap and is blended with other materials in making inexpensive perfume. Its chemical composition has been reported by Craveiro et al. in Brazil. It consists mainly of mono- or sesqui-terpene hydrocarbons which are \"very common in essential oils.\"
Jambolan bark yields durable brown dyes of various shades depending on the mordant and the strength of the extract. The bark contains 8 to 19% tannin and is much used in tanning leather and preserving fishing nets. When kiln dried, the heartwood is hard, difficult to work but polishes well. It is durable in water and resistant to borers and termites. In India, it is commonly used for beams and rafters, posts, bridges, boats, oars, masts, troughs, well-lining, agricultural implements, carts, solid cart wheels, railway sleepers and the bottoms of railroad cars. It is sometimes made into furniture.
Medicinally, the fruit is stated to be astringent, stomachic, carminative, antiscorbutic and diuretic. Cooked to a thick jam, it is eaten to allay acute diarrhea. The juice of the ripe fruit, or a decoction of the fruit, or jambolan vinegar, may be administered in India in cases of enlargement of the spleen, chronic diarrhea and urine retention. Water-diluted juice is used as a gargle for sore throat and as a lotion for ringworm of the scalp. Seeds, in liquid or powdered form, are freely given orally, 2 to 3 times a day, to patients with diabetes mellitus or glycosuiria. In many cases, the blood sugar level reportedly is quickly reduced and there are no ill effects. The leaves, steeped in alcohol, are prescribed in diabetes. The leaf juice is effective in the treatment of dysentery, either alone or in combination with the juice of mango or emblic leaves. Jambolan leaves may be helpful as poultices on skin diseases. The leaves, stems, flowerbuds, opened blossoms, and bark have some antibiotic activity. A decoction of the bark is taken internally for dyspepsia, dysentery, and diarrhea and also serves as an enema. The root bark is similarly employed. Bark decoctions are taken in cases of asthma and bronchitis and are gargled or used as mouthwash for the astringent effect on mouth ulcerations, spongy gums, and stomatitis. Ashes of the bark, mixed with water, are spread over local inflammations, or, blended with oil, applied to bums. In modern therapy, tannin is no longer approved on burned tissue because it is absorbed and can cause cancer. Excessive oral intake of tannin-rich plant products can also be dangerous to health. The tree is grown as shade for coffee in India. It is wind-resistant and sometimes is closely planted in rows as a windbreak.\r\n\r\n(Morton, J. 1987)
Habitat Description
The tree occurs in the tropical and sub-tropical climates under a wide range of environmental conditions. Jambolan can thrive on a variety of soils in low, wet areas and on higher, well-drained land (loam, marl, sandy soils, calcareous soils).(Coronel 2001). It grows well in areas receiving heavy rainfall between 1,500-10,000mm per anum. It develops most luxuriantly in regions of heavy rainfall, as much as 400 in. (1,000cm) annually. In India it is usually found in areas receiving 900-5000mm. The mean relative humidity in July varies from 70 to 100% and in January from 40 to 90 %. It can tolerate prolonged flooding. It also grows well on well-drained soils and once established, can tolerate drought. The jambolan tree grows well from sea-level to 6,000 ft (1,800 m) but, above 2,000 ft (600 m) it does not fruit but can be grown for its timber. It prospers on river banks and has been known to withstand prolonged flooding. Yet it is tolerant of drought after it has made some growth. Dry weather is desirable during the flowering and fruiting periods. It is sensitive to frost when young but mature trees have been undamaged by brief below-freezing temperatures in southern Florida. Despite its ability to thrive in low, wet areas, the tree does well on higher, well-drained land whether it be in loam, marl, sand or oolitic limestone.\" (Morton, J. 1987)
In its area of distribution, the absolute maximum shade temperateur varies from 2.5o to 17.5oC. The mean daily maximum temperature in May which is the hottest month of the year, varies from 30o to 43.5oC, and the mean daily minimum temperature in the coldest month i.e. January varies from 5o to 23.9oC (Luna, 1996).
The panicles of small, greenish-white, sweet-scented flowers appear from March to May, the fruits are green at first; as they develop, turn pink and then finally purple –black at the time of ripening in June to August (In India). Fruit formation takes place about 32 days after flowering. The fruits are devoured by frugivorous birds, monkeys, squirrels and human beings, perhaps occasionally by feral pigs (Sus scrofa) therefore widely dispersed. Natural regeneration is profuse around the mother trees as the seeds fall in large quantities. Germination takes place on moist ground, each fruit may produce from one to four or even five seedlings clustered together in dense masses. Sometimes, seedlings of different years may be found under the same seed bearer, showing their degree of tolerance to shade. The seedlings are somewhat frost-tender, particularly on grassy ground, where they are frequently killed back. The natural reproduction of the species is helped by fire protection. Weeding has a marked effect on the growth and vigour of seedlings.(Luna 1996). Seeds loose viability quickly (Coronel 2001).
Was frequently grown in gardens in Malaya. (Morton, 1987)

Principal source: Morton, J. 1987.

Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Dr. Pierre Binggeli

Publication date: 2006-03-23

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2024) Species profile: Syzygium cumini. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/speciesname/Syzygium+cumini on 19-07-2024.

General Impacts
This large evergreen tree forms a dense cover, excluding all other species. Although it is not an aggressive invader of undisturbed forest like the closely related roseapple (Syzygium jambos), it prevents the re-establishment of native lowland forest. (PIER, 2002)
Management Info
This tree has not been evaluated for biological control (Smith, 1998), but vigorous efforts to exterminate it with herbicides are taking place in Hawai‘i (Morton, J. 1987).
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Syzygium cumini
Informations on Syzygium cumini has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Syzygium cumini in information
Arrival date
Species notes for this location
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Ecosystem services:
Impact information
This large evergreen tree forms a dense cover, excluding all other species. Although it is not an aggressive invader of undisturbed forest like the closely related roseapple (Syzygium jambos), it prevents the re-establishment of native lowland forest. (PIER, 2002)
Red List assessed species 0:
[1] Competition
[1] Environmental Species - Population
  • [1] Reduces/inhibits the growth of other species
[1] Socio-Economic
  • [1] Human nuisance 
Management information
This tree has not been evaluated for biological control (Smith, 1998), but vigorous efforts to exterminate it with herbicides are taking place in Hawai‘i (Morton, J. 1987).
Management Category
17 references found for Syzygium cumini

Management information
PIER (Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk), 2002. Syzygium cumini.
Summary: Ecology, synonyms, common names, distributions (Pacific as well as global), management and impact information.
Available from: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/syzygium_cumini.htm [Accessed 6 March 2003].
Swaziland s Alien Plants Database., Undated. Syzygium cumini
Summary: A database of Swaziland s alien plant species.
Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom.
Summary: This database compiles information on alien species from British Overseas Territories.
Available from: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660 [Accessed 10 November 2009]
General information
Barthelat, F. 2005. Note sur les esp�ces exotiques envahissantes � Mayotte. Direction de l�Agriculture et de la For�t. 30p
Summary: Tableau synth�tique des plantes exotiques de Mayotte class�es en fonction de leur niveau d envahissement.
Centre des ressources biologiques. Plantes tropicales. INRA-CIRAD. 2007.
Summary: Available from: http://collections.antilles.inra.fr/ [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Conservatoire Botanique National De Mascarin (BOULLET V. coord.) 2007. Syzygium cumini.- Index de la flore vasculaire de la R�union (Trach�ophytes) : statuts, menaces et protections. - Version 2007.1
Summary: Base de donn�es sur la flore de la R�union. De nombreuses informations tr�s utiles.
Available from: http://flore.cbnm.org/index2.php?page=taxon&num=1e7875cf32d306989d80c14308f3a099 [Accessed March 2008]
Coronel, R.E. 1991. Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels. In Verheij, E.W.M., Coronel, R.E. (Eds) Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 2. Edible fruits and nuts, pp. 294-296. Pudoc, Wageningen.
Florence J. Chevillotte H. Ollier C.& Meyer J.-Y. 2007. Syzygium cumini. Base de donn�es botaniques Nadeaud de l Herbier de la Polyn�sie fran�aise (PAP).
Summary: Base de donn�es sur le flore de Polyn�sie Fran�aise.
Available from: http://www.herbier-tahiti.pf/Selection_Taxonomie.php?id_tax=2797 [Accessed March 2008]
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
Summary: Description, ecology, Distribution and life history of the Jambolan. A good overview.
Fournet, J. 2002. Flore illustr�e des phan�rogames de guadeloupe et de Martinique. CIRAD-Gondwana editions.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2005. Online Database Syzygium cumini
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/itisca/taxastep?king=every&p_action=containing&taxa=Syzygium+cumini&p_format=&p_ifx=plglt&p_lang= [Accessed March 2005]
Langeland, K.A. and Burks, K. C (Eds) 1998. Identification and Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida s Natural Areas, University of Florida. Syzygium cumini
Summary: Information on plants that pose threats to natural resource areas in Florida.
Available from: http://www.fleppc.org/ID_book/syzygium%20cumini.pdf [Accessed 30 December 2004]
Luna, R.K. (1996) Plantation trees. International Book Distributors, Dehra Dun.
Meyer, J.-Y. 2004. Threat of invasive alien plants to native flora and forest vegetation of eastern Polynesia. Pacific Science, 58, 357-375
Summary: Dans cet article, la menace croissante des plantes exotiques envahissantes est discut�e et les esp�ces les plus envahissantes sont d�crites. Des hypoth�ses sur l invasibilit� des �les sont pr�sent�es � la lumi�re des observations et des donn�es r�colt�es.
Morton, J. 1987. Jambolan. p. 375�378. In: Fruits of warm climates. Miami, FL.
Summary: Description, Distribution, Ecology, habitat, varieties, climate and information on Pests and Diseases that effect Syzygium cumini. Considerable information on the uses of the plant.
Found at: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/jambolan.html [Accessed 6 March 2003].
Whistler, 1995. Wayside plants of the islands. Everbest Printing company, Ltd. Hong Kong.
Summary: Description, and brief summary of the plants history.
The following 2 contacts offer information an advice on Syzygium cumini
Geographic region: Pacific, Indian Ocean
Ecosystem: Terrestrial
Expert in the botany of French Polynesia and the Pacific Islands, and has worked on ecology and biological control of Miconia calvescens in French Polynesia.
D�l�gation � la Recherche
D�l�gation � la Recherche, Gouvernement de Polyn�sie fran�aise. B.P. 20981, 98713 Papeete, Tahiti, Polyn�sie fran�aise
689 47 25 60
Geographic region: Indian Ocean
Ecosystem: Terrestrial
Office National des For�ts
ONF. Domaine Forestier de la Providence, 97488 Saint Denis cedex
Syzygium cumini
jambol, djoowet, jamelao, koeli, guayabo pesjua, pesjua extranjera, jamoen, jalao, jambulao, druif, jaman, jamelongue, jambu, jamelong, jambhool, jambool, salam, jambul, jiwat, jamblang, koriang, jambolanier, faux-pistachier, Java plum, jamelon-guier, jamelonguier, jambolan plum, paramu, damson plum, Portuguese plum, duhat, Ka'ika, mesekerrak, wa, mesegerak, duhat, Malabar plum, pistati, black plum, lomboy, kavika ni India, jammun, indian blackberry, purple plum, pring bai, ma-ha, va, pring das krebey, voi rung, mesigerak, lunaboy, doowet, jamélongue, mesekerrák
Date assessed
Year published
Eicat category
Justification for EICAT assessment
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Mechanism(s) of maximum impact
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Description of impacts
Recommended citation
(2024). Syzygium cumini. IUCN Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT).