Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Syzygium malaccense
(Malay apple)

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Datasheet

Syzygium malaccense (Malay apple)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Syzygium malaccense
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Malay apple
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. malaccense is a flowering tree species considered native to the Old World tropics. The species was listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds as “cultivation escape, environmental weed, naturalised, weed” (...

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    OX10 8DE
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    compend@cabi.org
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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Syzygium malaccense (L.) Merr. & L. M. Perry

Preferred Common Name

  • Malay apple

Other Scientific Names

  • Caryophyllus malaccensis (L.) Stokes
  • Eugenia domestica Baill.
  • Eugenia macrophylla Lam.
  • Eugenia malaccensis L.
  • Eugenia pseudomalaccensis Linden
  • Eugenia purpurascens Baill.
  • Eugenia purpurea Roxb.
  • Jambosa domestica DC.
  • Jambosa macrophylla (Lam.) DC.
  • Jambosa malaccensis (L.) DC.
  • Jambosa purpurascens DC.
  • Jambosa purpurea (Roxb.) Wight & Arn.
  • Myrtus malaccensis (L.) Spreng.

International Common Names

  • English: long fruited rose-apple; mountain apple; Otaheite-apple; pomerac; rose apple; wax jambu
  • Spanish: manzana de agua; pera noruega; pomarrosa de Malaca; pomarrosa malay
  • French: jamboissier rouge; jambosier de Malaque; jamelac; poirier de Malaque; pomme malac; pommier-rose
  • Chinese: ma liu jia pu tao

Local Common Names

  • Bolivia: manzana del Brasil
  • Brazil: jambolao-de-Malaca
  • Cambodia: chompuh kraham
  • Caroline Islands: apel; apel em Pohnpei; apel en Pohnpei; arfath; faliap; faliyap; harafath; paniap
  • Colombia: pomarosa de Malaca
  • Cook Islands: ka‘ika; ka‘ika ‘enua; ka‘ika makatea; ka‘ika maori; ka‘ika papa‘a; ka‘ika tavake; kaika makatea
  • Costa Rica: manzana
  • Cuba: pera de Malaca
  • Dominican Republic: cajuil de sulimán; cajuilito de sulimán; manzana de agua
  • El Salvador: marañon japonés
  • Fiji: kavika; kavika ndamu; kavika ndamundamu; kavika vulvula; kavikavula; yasi kavika
  • French Polynesia: ‘ahi’a; ‘ahia-‘ura; ‘ahia-tea; ahia; ahia Tahit; keika
  • French Polynesia/Marquesas: kehi‘a; kehika; kehika inana
  • Germany: Apfel- Jambose
  • Guam: macupa; makupa
  • Haiti: pomme de Jamaïque
  • Indonesia: darsana; djamboo bol; jambu bol; jambu tersana
  • Jamaica: Otaheite apple
  • Lesser Antilles: pome d’maite; pomera; pomm damou; pomme d’amour; pomme de Tahiti
  • Malaysia: jambu bar; jambu bol; jambu kapal; jambu kling; jambu melaka; jambu merah
  • Marshall Islands: abol
  • Micronesia, Federated states of: acpuhl; faaniyaap; faaniyap; faanyaap; fááriyap; faniap; faniob; faniyap; fasniyaap; feniap; feniyap
  • Myanmar: di-la; thabye-byu; thabyo-thabyay; thabyu-thabye; zabu-thabye-ahni
  • Nicaragua: pera de agua
  • Niue: fekakai
  • Northern Mariana Islands: macupa; makupa
  • Palau: kidel
  • Panama: marafion de Curasao; marañon de Curacao; mianzana de Faiti
  • Philippines: gubal; makopa; makopang-kalabau; Malay apple; mangkopa; tamo; tersana; tersana rose apple; tual; yambu
  • Puerto Rico: manzana malaya; ohia
  • Samoa: nonu; nonu ‘ula; nonu fi‘afi‘a; nonu fia fia; nonu fiafia; nonu ui
  • Solomon Islands: afio; kabirai; sa‘au; u‘uinialakau
  • Sweden: Malajäpple
  • Thailand: chom-phu-daeng; chomphu-saraek; chom-phu-sa-raek
  • Tonga: fekika; fekika kai
  • Tuvalu: apolo Solomona
  • USA/Hawaii: `ohi`a; `ohi`a `ai; `ohi`a `ai ke`oke`o; `ohi`a `ula; `ohi`a hakea; `ohi`a kea; `ohi`a leo
  • Venezuela: pera de agua; pomagás
  • Vietnam: cay ro; man hurong tau
  • Wallis and Futuna Islands: kafika

EPPO code

  • SYZMA (Syzygium malaccense)

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. malaccense is a flowering tree species considered native to the Old World tropics. The species was listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds as “cultivation escape, environmental weed, naturalised, weed” (Randall, 2012). It is intentionally grown pantropically for its edible fruits, its use as an ornamental, shade tree or windbreak, and uses in traditional medicine. It is known to escape from cultivation and has become naturalized in many places beyond its native range, and capable of forming almost pure stands up to about 500 m (Little and Skolmen, 1989). It persists in natural forests where it was once planted (Whistler and Elevitch, 2006). Its spread is limited by the short viability of its seeds, which are fleshy and cannot be stored for more than three weeks (Whistler and Elevitch, 2006), and both seeds and fruits are relatively large and are not easily dispersed by animals and birds. Although several species of Syzygium are considered invasive and threatening to native flora, S. malaccense is not currently considered a high-risk species (PIER, 2015), but monitoring and re-evaluation in the future is recommended. 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Myrtaceae
  •                             Genus: Syzygium
  •                                 Species: Syzygium malaccense

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Syzygium is a tropical genus of the Myrtle family Myrtaceae. The genus consists of over 1,000 species with greatest diversity in Malesia and the Old World tropics. Some economically significant members of this genus include the clove tree (S. aromaticum), the rose-apple (S. jambos), and the Malay-apple, S. malaccense.

There has been past taxonomic confusion between the genera Syzygium and Eugenia, but the centre of diversity for Eugenia is in the Neotropics. Linnaeus originally included members of the genus under the name Eugenia. In 1938, Merrill and Perry moved several species from Eugenia to Syzygium, including E. malaccensis, after studying differences in fruit structure; they also acknowledged taxonomic confusion stemming from the “vague entity” of Eugenia as described by Linnaeus, as well as Wight’s (1841) broader re-definition of de Candolle’s 1827 Syzygium and Eugenia (Merrill and Perry, 1938). Today, the accepted name for Eugenia malaccensis L. is Syzygium malaccense (L.) Merrill and Perry, but the species is also known by many other synonyms in the literature. 

Description

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Low trees with very dense rounded crown. The following description is taken from Wagner and Lorence (2015):

Trees 8-25 m tall, bark grayish brown, somewhat flaky, glabrous throughout. Leaves subcoriaceous, elliptic to oblong obovate, 14-38 cm long, 5-20 cm wide, principal lateral veins 8-15 pairs, 10-25 mm apart, submarginal vein sinuate, apex short acuminate, base cuneate, petioles 0.8-1.5 cm long. Flowers in axillary cymes 2-5 mm long on older branches and occasionally trunk, peduncles 0.5-1 cm long, bracts 1-1.5 mm long; hypanthium funnelform, 10-15 mm long; sepals 4, 2-4 mm long, persistent; petals 4, bright purplish red or rarely white, obovate orbicular, 6-10 mm long; stamens ca. 100; filaments red, 10-20 mm long. Berries pink to red, turning maroon, rarely whitish, obovoid, 5-7 cm long, pericarp crisp, watery, 10-20 mm thick. Seed usually 1, subglobose, 1.5-2 cm in diameter, testa fibrous, closely coherent to cotyledons.

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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The native range for S. malaccense is uncertain but generally considered to be in the Old World tropics in the Malesian region. It has been widely cultivated and naturalized pantropically. The species was not listed in Forzza et al’s 2010 work on Brazil, but it is known to be an introduced species there with traditional medicinal uses (Morton, 1987; Orwa et al, 2009), and also occurs in other parts of tropical South America.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

EgyptPresentIntroducedBircher and Bircher (2000)
SeychellesPresentPIER (2015)

Asia

ChinaPresentNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2015)Listed as ‘native’ but also ‘sometimes naturalized’.
IndiaPresentMorton (1987); Panggabean (1991); Orwa et al. (2009)‘commonly cultivated' in ‘Bengal and South India’
-GoaPresentIntroducedMorton (1987)Carried by Portuguese from Malacca
IndonesiaPresentNativeBircher and Bircher (2000); Orwa et al. (2009)
-JavaPresentMorton (1987); Panggabean (1991); USDA-ARS (2015)‘commonly cultivated'
-SumatraPresentNativePanggabean (1991); USDA-ARS (2015)
JapanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedRandall (2012)Naturalized
MalaysiaPresentNativeMorton (1987); USDA-ARS (2015)Presumed native
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNativePanggabean (1991)
MaldivesPresentPIER (2015)
MyanmarPresentKress et al. (2003)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedNaturalizedCABI (Undated); Morton (1987)‘cultivated...nowhere near naturalized’; Original citation: Quisumbing (1951)
SingaporePresentChong et al. (2009)‘casual’
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedFAO EcoCrop (2015)
ThailandPresentMorton (1987)
VietnamPresentMorton (1987)‘commonly cultivated'

North America

BelizePresentIntroducedMorton (1987); Flora Mesoamericana (2015)
BermudaPresentIntroducedBritton (1918); Morton (1987)First reported: before 1878
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedFlora Mesoamericana (2015)
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Oviedo Prieto et al. (2012); Randall (2012)
DominicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Randall (2012)
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedFlora Mesoamericana (2015)
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedFlora Mesoamericana (2015)
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
HondurasPresentIntroduced1929Morton (1987)
JamaicaPresentIntroduced1793Little and Skolmen (1989); Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
MartiniquePresent, WidespreadIntroducedBroome et al. (2007); Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedFlora Mesoamericana (2015); Flora of Nicaragua (2015)
PanamaPresentIntroducedFlora Mesoamericana (2015); CABI (Undated)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedLittle and Skolmen (1989); Liogier and Martorell (2000)‘grown around buildings’
Saint LuciaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedBroome et al. (2007); Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresent, WidespreadIntroducedBroome et al. (2007); Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedNaturalizedMorton (1987); Little and Skolmen (1989); Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Reportedly naturalized by 1870; First reported: before 1870
United StatesPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroducedLittle and Skolmen (1989)‘uncommon’
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedMorton (1987); Little and Skolmen (1989); Whistler and Elevitch (2006); Wagner et al. (2015)
-MassachusettsPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMorton (1987)Grown under glass; First reported: by 1839

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)Introduced, cultivated
AustraliaPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)‘aboriginal introduction’
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedWhistler and Elevitch (2006); Wagner et al. (2015a)
FijiPresentIntroducedWhistler and Elevitch (2006); Orwa et al. (2009)
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedWhistler and Elevitch (2006)
-Marquesas IslandsPresentIntroducedWagner and Lorence (2015)Polynesian introduction on Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva
GuamPresentIntroducedWagner et al. (2015a)
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)
NauruPresentIntroducedPIER (2015); Wagner et al. (2015a)‘aboriginal introduction’
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)
NiuePresentIntroducedPIER (2015)‘aboriginal introduction’
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2015); Wagner et al. (2015a)
PalauPresentIntroducedWagner et al. (2015a)
Papua New GuineaPresentPIER (2015)common
PitcairnPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)
TongaPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)
VanuatuPresentIntroducedNaturalizedWhistler and Elevitch (2006)Appears to be naturalized
Wallis and FutunaPresentIntroducedPIER (2015)

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Cultivated. Beni, Cochabamba; Original citation: Bolivia Checklist (2015)
BrazilPresentIntroducedMorton (1987); Orwa et al. (2009)
ColombiaPresentVascular Plants of Antioquia (2015)Andes, Chigorodó, Jardín, Medellín, MutatÁ, Turbo
EcuadorPresentIntroducedVascular Plants of Ecuador (2015)Los Ríos
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedVascular Plants of Ecuador (2015)
PeruPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Loreto; Original citation: Peru Checklist (2015)
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedFunk et al. (2007)‘cultivated, frequently escaping’ in Amazonas, Delta Amacuro

History of Introduction and Spread

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S. malaccense is considered to have originated in the Malesian region, perhaps Malaysia, and was an early Polynesian introduction to neighbouring parts of Asia-Pacific including Hawaii, the Cook Islands, Guam, Fiji, Nauru, and Niue (Morton, 1987; Little and Skolmen, 1989; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006; PIER, 2015). It was from Tahiti that the species was first introduced to the Neotropics. The species has been suggested to have been introduced to Brazil by the Portuguese for cultivation as a food plant (Morton, 1987).

Date of introduction to the West Indies is believed to have been 1793, when the British ship Providence captained by William Bligh brought S. malaccense, along with other food crops for slaves such as breadfruit, from Tahiti (Little and Skolmen, 1989). Eggers observed naturalized trees growing in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, during his stay between 1870-1876 (Morton, 1987), and Britton (1918) reported it (as Jambos malaccensis (L.) DC.) as having been apparently present in Bermuda by 1878. It was not, however, listed in Bello-Espinosa’s (1881; 1883) work on Puerto Rico and was apparently not present there before 1903 but reported in 1924 and was thereafter a frequent ornamental and windbreak tree species (Morton, 1987). Today, the species is naturalized in Puerto Rico (Liogier and Martorell, 2000) and although the species is not currently known to be invasive, it is on a list of potentially invasive species in Cuba (Oviedo-Prieto et al., 2012).

Risk of Introduction

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Risk of introduction for this species is currently low but not insignificant. A PIER risk assessment gave S. malaccense a low risk score of 0 (PIER, 2015). It is not currently known to be invasive, but it has naturalized in non-native tropical regions and is reportedly a potentially invasive species in Cuba (Oviedo-Prieto et al., 2012). Invasive traits include a history of repeated introduction beyond its native range and escape from cultivation (Randall, 2012), and its ability to form almost pure stands (Little and Skolmen, 1989). The species reproduces by seeds which are fleshy, relatively large, not easily dispersed by birds and animals, and remain viable for only a few weeks (Panggabean, 1991; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006). Considering these factors, and that several other Syzygium species are on invasive species lists, this species is not presently a high-risk species or an immediate priority, but monitoring may be warranted in the future.

Habitat

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S. malaccense generally occurs in humid tropical premontane-to-lower montane forest and humid-to-very humid premontane-to-lower montane forest (Vascular Plants of Antioquia, 2015), but has also been widely cultivated in home gardens and as an ornamental or windbreak tree (Morton, 1987; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006). It has been reported growing in lowland rainforests in Bolivia and Colombia (Bolivia Checklist, 2015; Vascular Plants of Antioquia, 2015), and in coastal regions of Ecuador and the Galapagos (Vascular Plants of Ecuador, 2015). Similarly, in Hawaii it is found cultivated and naturalized in valleys, gorges, and on mountain slopes of the lowest forest zone, and is also reportedly a pioneering species in lava flows (Morton, 1987; Little and Skolmen, 1989). The species is often planted along streams or ponds, as it requires a reliable water supply (Panggabean, 1991). It often grows around buildings and villages, as well as in disturbed areas (Little and Skolmen, 1989; Peru Checklist, 2015; PIER, 2015). 

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Buildings Present, no further details Natural
Buildings Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Present, no further details Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Chromosome count for this species is 2n=22 (Panggabean, 1991; Wagner and Lorence, 2015).

Reproductive Biology

The species reproduces readily by seed, but seeds quickly lose their viability; they are fleshy and cannot be stored or dried, so are best sown when fresh or within 2-3 weeks (Whistler and Elevitch, 2006). The species is triggered into bloom by wet weather following a dry period and can have several crops per year, as its fruits ripen about 60 days after bloom (Panggabean, 1991).

Environmental Requirements

S. malaccense is restricted to tropical regions with an annual rainfall of about 1500 mm or more, preferring year-round rain but tolerant of seasonal rain so long as there is no extended dry period (Morton, 1987; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006). Because a reliable water supply is required, trees are often planted along streams or ponds (Panggabean, 1991). In Egypt and India, for example, it grows readily but requires shade and plenty of moisture during the first years, and performs best when planted directly by a water source such as the banks of ponds, lakes, and streams (Bircher and Bircher, 2000; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006).

The species has low tolerance for soil salinity <4 dS/m), is tolerant of light shade, and grows best under full sun in deep, heavy, and fertile soil. FAO EcoCrop (2015) reports it as growing within a pH range of 5.5-6.5, but Whistler and Elevitch (2006) provide a more alkaline range of 6.1-7.4. While it can tolerate soil with pH levels up to 8, it will generally develop nutritional deficiencies under high acidic or alkaline conditions (Whistler and Elevitch, 2006; FAO EcoCrop, 2015). The species can tolerate a range of medium to heavy soil textures including loams, sandy clay loams, sandy clays, clay loams, and clays (Whistler and Elevitch, 2006).

S. malaccense thrives in the following climate zones:  tropical wet and dry (Aw), tropical wet (Ar), and subtropical humid (Cf) (FAO EcoCrop, 2015). The species typically grows at low elevations but has been found at higher elevations. In its native Southeast Asian range, the tree thrives in the lower montane rainforests of Malaysia, and in Sri Lanka it is cultivated in areas between 0-700 m (FAO EcoCrop, 2015). In Bolivia and Ecuador it has been reported between 0-500 m (Bolivia Checklist, 2015; Vascular Plants of Ecuador, 2015), and in Nicaragua between 0-600 m (Flora of Nicaragua, 2015). In Antioquia, Colombia, the species has been reported both between the ranges of 0-500 m and 1500-2000 m (Vascular Plants of Antioquia, 2015), and in Central America, specimens have been collected between 0-1200 m (Flora Mesoamericana, 2015; Peru Checklist, 2015). In Hawaii, the species is naturalized and cultivated from sea level up to about 2740 m in the valleys and on mountain slopes of the lowest forest zone (Morton, 1987).

Associations

S. malaccense reportedly grows well with other species, especially in home gardens and small plots with other cultivated species such as breadfruit and banana trees (Whistler and Elevitch, 2006).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 22 28
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 33

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall10002200mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

S. malaccense readily reproduces by seed, but seeds do not remain viable for more than a year. The species seems to particularly thrive in sloping areas and lower montane regions which allow for the gravitational movement of fruits which encapsulate the seeds.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Each seed of S. malaccense is encapsulated in an edible fruit that humans and animals are attracted to. While the seeds are relatively large, it is possible that they are dispersed by the animals that eat the fruit.

Accidental Introduction

The species has been widely cultivated for its edible fruits, use as a windbreak or shade tree, and for traditional medicinal materials (Morton, 1987; Little and Skolmen, 1989; Panggabean, 1991). It is known to escape from cultivation (Randall, 2012).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionCultivated pantropically for its edible fruits Yes Yes Little and Skolmen, 1989; Morton, 1987
DisturbanceSpecies occurs in disturbed areas Yes Morton, 1987; Peru Checklist, 2015; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006
Escape from confinement or garden escapeSpecies known to escape cultivation Yes Yes Funk et al., 2007; Randall, 2012
FoodFruits of species foraged for food and commonly sold in local supermarkets Yes Morton, 1987; Panggabean, 1991
Garden waste disposalGrown in gardens as a homegrown fruit tree Yes Morton, 1987; Randall, 2012; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006
Hedges and windbreaks Yes Yes Little and Skolmen, 1989; Panggabean, 1991; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006
Medicinal use Yes Duke, 2015; Morton, 1987; Quisumbing, 1951
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes Little and Skolmen, 1989; Panggabean, 1991; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006
People foragingSpecies produces edible fruits which are much foraged and sold in local marketplaces Yes Yes Morton, 1987; Panggabean, 1991; Whistler and Elevitch, 2006

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive
Human health Positive

Impact: Economic

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The species has the potential to positively impact local livelihoods by providing edible fruits that can be foraged for local consumption and sale in marketplaces, as is often the case in Central America and Southeast Asia (Morton, 1987; Panggabean, 1991).

Impact: Environmental

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The species is currently a low risk species (PIER, 2015) and there is not yet enough information to assess its potential negative impact in non-native regions; this is an area for future research.

Impact: Social

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The species, along with several other members of Syzygium, is known to have multiple uses in traditional medicine, and plant parts can be more easily foraged in places where the species has become naturalized. 

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Ornamental
  • Windbreak

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits

Materials

  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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The following is taken from Whistler and Elevitch (2006):

It is similar to Syzygium aqueum (bell or water apple), a tree cultivated in the Pacific for its edible fruits. The fruits of this species, however, are smaller and bell-shaped (widest toward the free end), and the flowers are white rather than red. It is also similar to Syzygium samarangense, a tree sometimes cultivated in the Pacific and becoming naturalized in native forests. The flowers of this tree are white and the leaves are subsessile (i.e., having the petioles less than 7 mm [0.25 in] long). S. malaccense also differs from the other two by typically having the inflorescences borne on the branches and occasionally on the trunk rather than at or near the ends of the stems.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Physical/Mechanical Control

Physical control methods such as cutting down or frilling (removal of bark completely around the base of the tree trunk) have been used in combination with herbicide applications in vigorous efforts to control some Syzygium species that have proved invasive threats to native flora in places such as Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands, and Pitcairn Islands (ISSG, 2015). Physical removal of trees and replacing them with native species has also been a reported method for an invasive Syzygium species (S. jambos) in Costa Rica (Avalos et al., 2006).

Chemical Control

Syzygium species can be controlled by herbicides, and in places where species have become serious threats to native flora, a combination of physical and chemical control methods have been reported. Syzygium cumini, for example, forms a dense cover and because of its extensive cultivation as a fruit tree, has become very invasive in Hawaii, the Cook Islands, and French Polynesia; vigorous efforts are being undertaken in Hawaii to remove the species through chemical control (ISSG, 2015). Syzygium jambos is likewise an invasive species on several Pacific islands, and has been reportedly controlled by applying herbicides (picloram and metsulfuron-methyl at 5-10%) (ISSG, 2015).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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S. malaccense currently appears to be a low risk species, but this may change considering its continued cultivation in many tropical regions of the world. Although based on current literature it is not a priority species, an assessment of its impact on local biodiversity is recommended, especially in places like Hawaii where it is known to form nearly pure stands in lowland areas (Little and Skolmen, 1989), and considering that several related species are known to be weedy and potentially invasive.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Avalos G; Hoell K; Gardner J; Anderson S; Lee C, 2006. Impact of the invasive plant Syzygium jambos (Myrtaceae) on patterns of understory seedling abundance in a Tropical Premontane Forest, Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop (International Journal of Tropical Biology), 54(2):415-421.

Bello D, 1883. [English title not available]. (Apuntes para la flora de Puerto Rico. Segunda parte. Monoclamídeas.) Anales de la Sociedad Española de Historia Natural, 12:103-130.

Bello Espinosa D, 1881. [English title not available]. (Apuntes para la flora de Puerto Rico. Primera parte.) Anal. Soc. Española de Hist. Nat, 10:231-304.

Bircher AG; Bircher WH, 2000. Encyclopedia of fruit trees and edible flowering plants in Egypt and the subtropics. Cairo, Egypt: American University in Cairo Press, 596 pp.

Bolivia Checklist, 2015. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Bolivia, Tropicos website. St. Louis, MO, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/BC

Britton NL, 1918. Flora of Bermuda. New York, USA: Charles Scribner's Sons. 585 pp.

Broome R; Sabir K; Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Chong KY; Tan HTW; Corlett RT, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, 273 pp. http://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/pdf/PUBLICATION/LKCNH%20Museum%20Books/LKCNHM%20Books/flora_of_singapore_tc.pdf

Duke J, 2015. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases online resource. Beltsville, USA: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/

FAO EcoCrop, 2015. Syzygium malaccense. Eco-Crop Online Database. Land and Water Development Division, Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO). http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/dataSheet?id=1033

Flora Mesoamericana, 2015. Flora Mesoamericana. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/fm

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Flora of Nicaragua, 2015. Flora of Nicaragua, Tropicos website. St. Louis, MO, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/FN

Forzza R, 2010. List of species of the Flora of Brazil (Lista de espécies Flora do Brasil). http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/2012/

Funk V; Hollowell T; Berry P; Kelloff C; Alexander SN, 2007. Checklist of the plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 584 pp.

ISSG, 2015. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/

Kress WJ; Defilipps RA; Farr E; Kyi DYY, 2003. A checklist of the trees, shrubs, herbs, and climbers of Myanmar. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 45:1-590.

Liogier HA; Martorell LF, 2000. Flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands: a systematic synopsis, 2nd edition revised. San Juan, Puerto Rico: La Editorial, University of Puerto Rico, 382 pp.

Little EL Jr; Skolmen RG, 1989. Common forest trees of Hawaii (native and introduced). Agriculture Handbook Washington, 679. Washington, DC, USA: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Merrill ED; Perry LM, 1938. The Myrtaceae of China. Journal of the Arnold Aboretum, 3:191-247.

Morton JF, 1987. Fruits of Warm Climates. Miami, USA: J.F. Morton, 517 pp.

Orwa C; Mutua A; Kindt R; Jamnadass R; Simons A, 2009. Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. World Agroforestry Centre. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/af/treedb/

Oviedo Prieto R; Herrera Oliver P; Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.

Panama Checklist, 2015. Panama Checklist, Tropicos website. St. Louis, MO, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/PAC

Panggabean G, 1991. Syzygium aqueum (Burm.) Alston. In: Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts [ed. by Verheij, E. W. M. \Coronel, R.]. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Pudoc, 292-294. http://www.proseanet.org/prosea/e-prosea_detail.php?frt=&id=1547

Peru Checklist, 2015. The Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/PEC

PIER, 2015. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Quisumbing E, 1951. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Philippine Islands Technical Bulletin, 16:1-1234.

Quisumbing E, 1951. Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Bulletin, No. 16.

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

USDA-ARS, 2015. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2015. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Vascular Plants of Antioquia, 2015. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of the Department of Antioquia (Colombia), Tropicos website. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/CV

Vascular Plants of Ecuador, 2015. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/CE

Wagner WL; Herbst DR; Lorence DH, 2015. Flora of the Hawaiian Islands website. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/hawaiianflora/index.htm

Wagner WL; Herbst DR; Tornabene MW; Weitzman A; Lorence DH, 2015. Flora of Micronesia website. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/micronesia/index.htm

Wagner WL; Lorence DH, 2015. Flora of the Marquesas Islands website. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/marquesasflora/index.htm

Whistler WA; Elevitch CR, 2006. Syzygium malaccense (Malay apple), ver. 2.1. Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry [ed. by Elevitch, C. R.]. Holualoa, Hawaii, USA: Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR). http://www.agroforestry.net/images/pdfs/Syzygium-Malayapple.pdf

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Bircher A G, Bircher W H, 2000. Encyclopedia of fruit trees and edible flowering plants in Egypt and the subtropics. Cairo, Egypt: American University in Cairo Press. 596 pp.

Britton N L, 1918. Flora of Bermuda. New York, USA: C. Scribner's Sons.

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean., Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Chong KY, Tan HTW, Corlett RT, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species., Singapore, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp. http://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/pdf/PUBLICATION/LKCNH%20Museum%20Books/LKCNHM%20Books/flora_of_singapore_tc.pdf

FAO EcoCrop, 2015. Syzygium malaccense. In: Eco-Crop Online Database, Land and Water Development Division, Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO). http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/dataSheet?id=1033

Flora Mesoamericana, 2015. Flora Mesoamericana., St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/fm

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of China., St. Louis, Missouri; Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Flora of Nicaragua, 2015. Flora of Nicaragua, Tropicos website., St. Louis, MO, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/FN

Funk V, Hollowell T, Berry P, Kelloff C, Alexander S N, 2007. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. 55, 584 pp.

Kress WJ, Defilipps RA, Farr E, Kyi DYY, 2003. A checklist of the trees, shrubs, herbs, and climbers of Myanmar. In: Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 45 1-590.

Liogier HA, Martorell LF, 2000. Flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands: a systematic synopsis, 2nd edition revised., San Juan, Puerto Rico: La Editorial, University of Puerto Rico. 382 pp.

Little E L Jr, Skolmen R G, 1989. Common forest trees of Hawaii (native and introduced). In: Agriculture Handbook (Washington), USA: United States Department of Agriculture. v + 321 pp.

Morton J F, 1987. Fruits of warm climates. Miami, USA: J.F. Morton. 517 pp.

Orwa C, Mutua A, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, Simons A, 2009. Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. In: World Agroforestry Centre, http://www.worldagroforestry.org/af/treedb/

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff M G, et al, 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 6 (Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

Panggabean G, 1991. (Syzygium aqueum (Burm.) Alston). In: Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts, [ed. by Verheij EWM, Coronel R]. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Pudoc. 292-294. http://www.proseanet.org/prosea/e-prosea_detail.php?frt=&id=1547

PIER, 2015. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk., Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds., Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia. 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

USDA-ARS, 2015. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

Vascular Plants of Antioquia, 2015. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of the Department of Antioquia (Colombia), Tropicos website., St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/CV

Vascular Plants of Ecuador, 2015. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador., St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/CE

Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Lorence DH, 2015. Flora of the Hawaiian Islands website., Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/hawaiianflora/index.htm

Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Tornabene MW, Weitzman A, Lorence DH, 2015a. Flora of Micronesia website., Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/micronesia/index.htm

Wagner WL, Lorence DH, 2015. Flora of the Marquesas Islands website., Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/marquesasflora/index.htm

Whistler WA, Elevitch CR, 2006. Syzygium malaccense (Malay apple), ver. 2.1. Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry., [ed. by Elevitch CR]. Holualoa, Hawaii, USA: Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR). http://www.agroforestry.net/images/pdfs/Syzygium-Malayapple.pdf

Contributors

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05/6/2015 Original text by:

Marianne Jennifer Datiles, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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