The fruit tree Syzygium jambos
(syn. Eugenia jambos
, Jambosa jambos
) has several common names, including chom pu
, rose apple
, Malay apple
, Malabar plum
. The edible fruit is shaped like a small pear. The plant is native to Southeast Asia
but is naturalized in India
, especially the state of Kerala
. It has also been introduced across the Americas where it now grows in wild thickets. Specimens have been planted on nearly every continent.
The tree has long, glossy green leaves and white or greenish flowers. There are several varieties, including the one most common in Thailand bearing a pale green fruit, and Malaysian varieties with red skin. It is often some shade of dull yellow. The skin is thin and waxy, and the hollow core contains a small amount of inedible fluff. The flesh is a crisp and watery, and tastes like a cross between nashi
and bell pepper
, with a very mild rose
scent and a slightly bitter aftertaste
. In South-East Asian countries, the fruit is frequently served with spiced sugar
In ancient Sanskrit, the land now called India was referred to by the ancient Indians themselves as Jambudvipa, which means Roseappleland (jambu = rose apple; dvipa = land).
This plant can be quite invasive in areas where it has been introduced. It is a threat to several ecosystems, including those on several Hawaiian islands, Réunion, and the Galápagos Islands, and in parts of Australia and Central America.