As the name suggests Malayan Apple is a native of Malaysia. It is also a native of Malaysia’s neighboring countries Java, Indonesia, and Sumatra. Botanical name is Syzygium malaccense and belongs to Myrtaceae family.
This tree now is grown for its fruit in many tropical countries. The other common name of this tree is Malay Rose Apple, Jambu Merah, jambu Bol, Rose Apple, Water Apple, and Mountain Apple.
Malayan Apple tree is one of the most beautiful trees that I have ever laid my eyes on! Although I had tasted the fruit, saw this tree for the first time at the Regional Agricultural Research Station located in Ambalavayal, Wayanad, Kerala. The tree is known to thrive well in humid climates with an annual rainfall of 152 cm or more. No wonder then that the tree is thriving in Wayanad.
Malayan Apple tree is an evergreen tree and grows to a height of 60 feet. The trunk grows to 15 ft (4.5 m) in circumference and the tree crown is either pyramidal or cylindrical.
The leaves are dark green, glossy, and opposite.
Flowers are fragrant and are abundant during the blooming season. June is the blooming season in India. Malayan Apple flowers have funnel-like base with 5 green sepals, 4 petals in red, white, yellow, or orange, and numerous stamens with yellow anthers.
Fruits mature in 60 days from the full opening of the flowers and must be hand-picked to avoid damage. Malayan Apple fruit is glossy, bell-shaped and can be up to 4 inches long and 3 inches wide.
Picture above was taken in Singapore Zoo and the rest in Regional Agricultural Research Station
The fruit has a waxy skin and the color can be red, pink, or white. The flesh is juicy, spongy, and mildly sweet. Taste of the fruit does not live up to the beauty of the tree. A single seed is found in these fruits, which are light-brown.
The ripe fruit is a favorite among children though it is tasteless. Malayan Apple fruit is used to prepare stews, jam, sauce, jelly, and pickles. The flowers are added to salads and young leaves and shoots are eaten with rice.
Jam is prepared by stewing the flesh with brown sugar and ginger.
In the native regions of the tree, all parts of the tree is used to treat various ailments following their respective traditional medicine texts.
Malayan Apple tree is propagated from seeds and cuttings. Seeds germinate in 2 to 4 weeks and transplanted in 6 weeks. The tree grows in soil with good drainage. Eliminate weeds around the trees and fertilize periodically.