Syzygium cumini

Botanical name: Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels.
Local name: Njaval
Habitat: Evergreen forests and in the plains
Flowering & fruiting: December to April
Distribution: Indo-Malesia

Description: It is a medium sized tree can reach up to 30 m of height and can live more than 100 years. The bark is white in color with light pink interior. The bark is rough and dark grey at the base of the tree becomes lighter and smoother higher up. Its dense foliage provides shade and it has grown for its ornamental value. Leaves are of 18 x 8 cm length and flowers are of 6-9 mm long. Fruit is Berry, obovoid and deep blue in color.

Significance: The leaves are used as fodder for livestock, as they have good nutritional value.

This tree is highly valued for its medicinal uses, edible fruits, for strong heavy timber and good fuel wood. It is also a host plant of the tasar silkworm and a good source of nectar for honeybees. The tree has grown as shade for coffee and if topped regularly, such plantings form a dense, massive hedge and being wind-resistant, it is planted in dense rows as a windbreak. Fruits of S. cumini  have a sweet or sub-acid flavour with little astringency.  S. cumini fruit are used for the manufacture of port-like wine, distilled liquors, brandy and ‘jambava’. Vinegar, extensively made from these fruits throughout India has an attractive clear purple colour with a pleasant aroma and mild flavour. Flowers are abundant and the tree has a high value in apiculture.