Wax Jambu, Java Apple, Rose Apple - Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & L.M. Perry
Wax jambu fruit
Fig. 1 magnifying glass

Syzygium samarangense with a cross section of the fruit
Fig. 2 magnifying glass

Fig. 3 magnifying glass
Inflorescense and flower buds

Syzygium samarangense (Rose apple) leaves in RDA, Bogra
Fig. 6 magnifying glass
Syzygium samarangense (Rose apple) leaves in RDA, Bogra, Bangladesh

Fruit habit
Fig. 7
Fruit forming

Fruit maturing
Fig. 8
Fruit maturing

Bell Fruit. Syzygium samarangense
Fig. 9
Bell Fruit. Syzygium samarangense

Tambis fruit - Syzygium samarangense
Fig. 13
Tambis fruit - Syzygium samarangense

Lainwu (Wax apple) on the tree
Fig. 14
Lainwu (Wax apple) bagged on the tree

Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & L.M. Perry
Fig. 15
Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & L.M. Perry

Syzygium samarangense, Syzygium javanicum, Eugenia javanica
Fig. 16

Syzygium samarangense (Rose apple) tree in RDA, Bogra
Fig. 17
Syzygium samarangense (Rose apple) tree in RDA, Bogra, Bangladesh

Wax apple orchard
Fig. 18
Wax apple orchard, Taiwan

Fruit at market
Fig. 19 

Taiwan fruits. Grand Pacific,Beijing,China
Fig. 20
Taiwan fruits. Grand Pacific, Beijing, China

Scientific name
Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & L.M. Perry
Common names
English common names include Jambu air (local Indonesian and Malay name), lembu or lian-woo (from the native Taiwanese name; pinyin: liánwù; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: lián-bū), wax apple, love apple, java apple, royal apple, bell fruit (or bellfruit), Jamaican apple, water apple, mountain apple, cloud apple, wax jambu, and rose apple. It is commonly known as makopa in the Philippines. In Bengali language the fruit is called Jaamrool.
Eugenia javanica Lam., E. samarangensis (Blume) O.Berg, Jambosa javanica (Lam.) K.Schum.
& Lauterb., J. samarangensis (Blume) DC., Myrtus javanica (Lam.) Blume, M. samarangensis Blume. 1
Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia
USDA hardiness zones
16-50 ft (5-15 m) 2
Wide, irregular canopy
Open, widespreading crown 2
Plant habit
Growth rate
Very fast
Short, crooked trunk, often branched near the base
Pruning requirement
Required to keep under control and ease of harvest
Evergreen; opposite, elliptic/elliptic-oblong, 4-6", coriaceous, w/thin margin, pellucid dotted, strongly aromatic when bruised 4
Terminal and in axils of fallen leaves, 3-30-flowered 4
Berry, broadly pyriform, crowned by the fleshy calyx w/incurved lobes, 1.5-2", light red to white; flesh white spongy, juicy, aromatic, sweet-sour taste 4
May-Sept. and Nov.-March
Light requirement
Light shade to full sun
Soil tolerances
The soil must be fertile, or the crops will be small and the fruit quality poor 2
Drought tolerance
Aerosol salt tolerance
Soil salt tolerance
Cold tolerance
30-32 °F (°C)
Plant spacing
15-20 ft
Not a problem
Invasive potential *
None reported
Pest resistance
Known hazard

Reading Material

Java Apple from Julia Morton's book Fruits of Warm Climates

Syzygium samarangense from the World Agroforestry Center

Not to be confused with Malay apple (Syzygium malaccense) which is known as the pommerac in Trinidad and Tobago.


The tree is indigenous from Malaya to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where there are wild trees in the coastal forests. 2
The Syzygium samarangense 'Srinark' from Thailand was introduced to Florida in 1960 by Bill Whitman. 5

This free-branching, medium sized tree similar to Malay Apple, is somewhat hardier. It also has large and wide glossy leaves and a waxy-looking fruit, probably hence the common name. 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. 3
The tree, 16 to 50 ft (5-15 m) tall, has a short trunk 10 to 12 in (25-30 cm) thick, and open, widespreading crown, and pinkish-gray, flaking bark. The waxy fruit, usually light-red, sometimes greenish-white or cream-colored (Fig. ), is pear-shaped, narrow at the base, very broad, flattened, indented and adorned with the 4 fleshy calyx lobes at the apex; 1 1/3 to 2 in (3.4-5 cm) long, 1 3/4 to 2 1/8 in (4.5-5.4 cm) wide. The skin is very thin, the flesh white, spongy, dry to juicy, subacid and very bland in flavor. There may be 1 or 2 somewhat rounded seeds 3/16 to 5/16 in (0.5-0.8 cm) wide, or none. 2

The opposite leaves are nearly sessile, elliptic-oblong, rounded or slightly cordate at the base; yellowish to dark bluish-green; 4 to 10 in (10-25 cm) long and 2 to 4 3/4 in (5-12 cm) wide; very aromatic when crushed. 2

Flowers, borne in drooping panicles of 3 to 30 at the branch tips or in smaller clusters in the axils of fallen leaves, are fragrant, yellowish-white, 3/4 to 1 1/2 in (2-4 cm) broad, 4-petalled, with numerous stamens 3/5 to 1 in (1.5-2.5 cm) long. 2
Bearing of clonal trees starts after 3-5 years. There are definite flowering seasons, often two, sometimes three in a year, but the timing varies from year to year. Wax jambu commonly flowers early or late in the dry season; the flowers appear to be self-compatible and the fruit ripens 30-40 days after anthesis. 4
Flowers fall on the ground in 2-3 days, leaving behind the tiny fruits to mature and ripen in about 2 months. 3

Inflorescense Inflorescense
Fig. 4 Fig. 5

The reddest fruits are the sweetest and superior varieties of excellent quality are available. One of the most highly prized and sought after wax apples in Taiwan are "black pearls," which are purplish-red. Often seedless, fruits can be eaten out-of-hand. They are remarkably refreshing, juicy and quenching on a hot day. The liquid to flesh ratio of the wax apple is comparable to a watermelon. The texture is crisp, almost crunchy and juicy with a sweet, mildly scented flavor. 3
In Southeast Asia, the black ones are nicknamed "Black Pearl" or "Black Diamond", while the very pale greenish-white ones, called "Pearl" (Fig. 11 ), 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. 1

Fruit on treeWax apples. Near the Zihciang Tunnel and Soochow University in Shihlin, TaipeiChambakka. Rose apple
Fig. 10 Fig. 11 Fig. 12

Fig. 11. Wax apples. Near the Zihciang Tunnel and Soochow University in Shihlin, Taipei
Fig. 12. Chambakka. Rose apple, Kerala, India


The Java apple is a heavy bearer on good soil. When 5 years old it may yield a crop of 700 fruits. 2
The fruits have a thin skin and are delicate; they need to be picked by hand twice a week and handled with care. 4

The trees grow spontaneously from seed. Preferred types are reproduced by layering, budding onto their own rootstocks, or onto seedlings of S. densiflorum A. DC., (the beautiful Wild Rose Apple of Malaya, which has edible flowers, undesirable fruits, but is not attacked by termites). Sometimes the Java apple is grafted onto the cultivated Rose Apple (q.v.). 2

Trees which bear well benefit from compound fertilizers applied after harvest and supplemented with a top dressing as soon as the inflorescences are being formed. 4

The species require a reliable water supply and are often planted along streams or ponds. 4

Food Uses
The fruit should be consumed or preserved within a few days from harvest. The ripe fruit is sweet and is mainly eaten fresh. In Indonesia wax jambu is used in fruit salads ('rujak') and they are also preserved by pickling ('asinan'). Eighty per cent or more of the fruit is edible. 4
In Malaya, the greenish fruits are eaten raw with salt or may be cooked as a sauce. They are also stewed with true apples. The pink fruits are juicier and more flavorful and suitable for eating out-of-hand or cooking without accompaniments except sugar. 2

Medicinal Uses **
The flowers are astringent and used in Taiwan to treat fever and halt diarrhea. Investigators have found their principal constituent to be tannin. They also contain desmethoxymatteucinol, 5-O-methyl-4'-desmethoxymatteucinol, oleanic acid and B-sitosterol. They show weak antibiotic action against Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and Candida albicans. 2

Other Uses
The wood is red, coarse, hard; used for constructing huts in the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands. 2

Further Reading

Wax Apple Industry in Taiwan, a Success Story from the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions pdf 62 pages (large file)

List of Growers and Vendors

1 "Syzygium samarangense." wikipedia.org. N.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
2 Morton, J. "Java Apple." Fruits of warm climates. p. 381-382. 1987. hort.purdue.edu. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
3 "Syzygium samarangense, Syzygium javanicum, Eugenia javanica." toptropicals.com. N.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
4 Orwa C., A. Mutua, R. Kindt, R. Jamnadass and S. Anthony. "Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & Perry." worldagroforestry.org. Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. 2009. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
5 Whitman, William F. Five Decades with Tropical Fruit, a Personal Journey. Stuart, Florida: Quisqualis Books in cooperation with Fairchild Tropical Garden. 2001. Print.


Fig. 1 Nabin. Syzygium samarangense. 2007. flickr.com. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 2 Morphzone. Syzygium samarangense with a cross section of the fruit. 2012. wikipedia.org. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
Fig. 3,4,5,7,8 Robitaille, Liette. "Wax Jambu Series." 2014. growables.org. File JPG
Fig. 6 Afrin, Afifa. Syzygium samarangense (Rose apple) leaves in RDA, Bogra. 2016. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 9 Kaakkara, Shijan. Bell Fruit. Syzygium samarangense. 2013. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 10 Bluemangoa2z. Fruit on tree. 2009. commons.wikimedia.org. via Malayalam Wikipedia. Public domain. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 11 Chang, Allen Timothy. Wax apples. Near the Zihciang Tunnel and Soochow University in Shihlin, Taipei. 2005. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0) and GNU Free Documentation License. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 12 Manojk. Chambakka. Rose apple. 2011. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 13 Parker, Richard. Tambis fruit, Syzygium samarangense. 2008. flickr.com. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 14 Yu Jen, Su. Lainwu (Wax apple) on the tree. 2004. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 15 Howard, R.A. Syzygium samarangense (Blume) Merr. & L.M. Perry. N.d. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany.  mnh.si.edu. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 16 Syzygium samarangense, Syzygium javanicum, Eugenia javanica. N.d. toptropicals.com. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 17 Afrin, Afifa. Syzygium samarangense (Rose apple) tree in RDA, Bogra. 2016. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 18 Yu Jen, Su. Wax apple orchard. 2008. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
Fig. 19 Tingtingchung. 2006. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY 2.5). Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
Fig. 20 Snowyowls. Taiwan fruits. Grand Pacific, Beijing, China. 2005. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 2.0). Web. 3 Apr. 2017.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.

Published 9 Dec. 2014 LR. Last update 3 Apr. 2017 LR
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