- History and Culture
Syzygium jambos is an evergreen tree growing up to between 10 and 15 meters tall. It originates from Southeast Asia and is believed to have been introduced to Mauritius in 1677 or before. It is commonly called Plum rose or Rose apple in English. It has unfortunately become a very invasive species.
It has dense, slender, wide-spreading branches which make the width of the tree appear longer than its height. Its leaves, opposite and elliptical in shape, are rosy when young and evolve into a leathery glossy dark green. Its flowers are large, can be greenish-white or cream coloured with numerous long stamens, appearing as 4 or 5 flowers in terminal clusters. The species produces pale yellow to whitish fruit with a juicy layer of yellowish flesh which is said to have a scent that resembles that of a rose.
Syzygium jambos tolerates semi-arid conditions but appears to thrive best on the banks of rivers and streams. It is believed to have been planted for watershed protection but unfortunately soon became invasive. An account of 1879 describes it as being very common in all valleys. S. jambos is listed as one of the most problematic species among exotic woody species.
At present no specific management measure is currently undertaken for S. jambos. As it is often located along river banks and in sensitive areas, removing them presents a challenge in terms of maintaining the ecosystem services they provide, despite being an Alien Invasive Species.
The fruit is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic for the brain and liver.