In the tropical countries of south and southeast Asia, Wax Apple is a small tree common in orchards and home gardens. Although not as sweet or tasty as an apple, its bell-shaped fruits are favorite,
The shape and color of the fruit are the main attraction. Because of this, it is also called Bell Fruit or Rose Apple.
In places like Kerala, apart from growing as an ornamental tree, it is seldom sold as a commercial commodity. However, in the southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Taiwan, it commonly sold in fruit markets under the name Java Apple or Wax Jambu.
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Plant Type: Small Evergreen Tree
Scientific name: Syzygium samarangense
Common names: Wax Apple, Rose Apple, Java Apple, Jamrul, Wax Jambu
Malayalam: Chambakka, ullichamba
This small evergreen tree can be up to 40 feet tall with wide foliage. It is well-suited to grow in gardens.
The fruit is about 5 cm long with a wider bottom. It is white or light green before ripening. After ripening, it turns rose. The outer texture is glossy giving the name wax-apple, which gives the feeling that it is made of wax. Inside, the fruit is spongy white with lots of water content.
The taste is not very sweet. It is a mix of sweetness and sour. Despite the taste, it is said to have many health benefits.
In Kerala, its main use is in preparing pickles or Chambakka achar.
In traditional medicines, Syzygium samarangense was used to treat ailments including fever and diabetes. Studies also suggest that it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Apart from it, the fruit also contains several anti-oxidants.
Although now common all over the tropics in Asia and South East Asia, the tree is native to the Malay Peninsula and the Andaman islands.
Propagation of Syzygium samarangense is by seeds. Stem cutting may not work well for it.
The plant grows well in tropical conditions. To make things easier, it can even grow in not-so-fertile soil conditions.
The growth rate is fast and flowering starts withing one year.