In the Fullerton Arboretum

by: Alfredo Chiri


ROSE APPLE - Syzygium jambos - Myrtaceae

Donated by: Fullerton Arboretum and planted in 1978 (r.f.-08)

Common names: Poma rosa, Manzana rosa, Jambeiro, Jaman, Yambo

The rose apple may be a shrub but generally is a tree, reaching 25 to 40 feet in height. It has a crown of spreading branches with an overall spreading that exceeds the height. The plant is native to India and was very popular as a door yard tree during the Victorian era.

The evergreen leaves are opposite lanceolate, tapering to a point, somewhat leathery, glossy pink when new, fading first to pale green, then dark green. The flowers are creamy or greenish white. There are usually 4 or 5 flowers
together in terminal clusters at the ends of the newer twigs. They are creamy white and fragrant.

The fruits are almost round, 1 to 2 inches wide. When ripe they may be greenish or dull yellow flushed with pink. The skin is dull, the flesh whitish and firm and scented like roses. They taste almost like rose petals. The fruit is crisp and crunchy, and the seed rattles around inside the fruit. In the hollow center there are 1 to 4 brown, rough-coated, more or less round seeds.

The Rose apple flourishes in or near tropical climates and has become naturalized in the Caribbean Islands where it grows from sea level to an altitude of 3,000 feet. In the Hawaiian Islands it grows from sea level to 4,000 feet. In India, it ranges up to 5,000 feet. In Ecuador, it will grow up to 8,000 feet. In California at the high altitudes the tree grows vigorously but usually will not bear fruit.

The tree prefers a loamy soil, but it will grow on sand and limestone with very little organic matter. Most rose apples are grown from seeds, which are polyembrionic (producing 1 to 3 sprouts), but the seedlings are not uniform in character or behavior. They do not respond easily to layering, budding, or veneer grafting.

Rose apple trees bloom in Southern California in April and May, and fruit sets almost immediately, reaching ripen-ing stage by August. Rose apples bruise easily and are highly perishable. They must be freshly picked to be
crisp. A tree might yield up to 7 lbs. of fruit each season. The fruits are very light because they are hollow, which is considered a very small return for a tree that occupies so much space.

The seeds are said to be poisonous. Small amounts of hydrocyanic acid have been found in the roots, stems and leaves. Jambosine, an alkaloid, also has been found in the bark and roots. The roots are also considered to be
poisonous.

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'INCA GOLD' LUCUMA
This is a California grown fruit
Fresh fruit available from Oct-Nov. Dehydrated fruit available all the time
Make your own ice cream