Crawling on the mighty jumbolan tree

“Hinga dhanva binnaha. Baivaro ebathee” (lets go to pluck Jambolan fruit. there are loads now), this is a typical request among the youngsters during the season of this savory fruit. Plucking the fruit of this tree is a fun for many people especially youngsters, who set off to “dhambo val” – the thick vegetation of the area where these tree are in abundance.

Those who are skilled, quick and experienced will climb up the tree in a shot. Crawling, they will pluck clusters of the fruits and collect into bags. While plucking, they eat the fruits. Their mouth is full of fruits and tongues stained in dark purple. “Drop me. There is a cluster. drop me some,” those who wait under the trees beg for fruits as the guys in the trees are obsessed in eating the fruit. The tree branches are so strong that even the small thin branches bend like carbon fishing rods while the guys crawl and walk along the tree branches. Some daring boys climb up the top most branches. Accidents have happened while indulging in this fun. Some boys have fallen from the trees and inflicted serious bodily injuries. But the joy and the natural aerial view while on the top branches are amazing.

You can witness the tranquil taro fields, coconut trees, ferns and many other species of flora. Cackling and giggling of  the moorhen will tenderly touch your ear drums. I have experienced this view. It is a great moment i can never forget. The delicate and mysterious creation of god is purely an amazement a human being cannot forget. The glimpse and unforgettable moments of this experience will engraved in the heart of one’s life for eternity.

The international common names for this tree is: black plum tree; Indian blackberry; jambolan; jambolan; jamun; java plum; Java plumtree; Malabar plum; Portuguese plum. The fruits of this tree appear like berries with an oblong shape similar to Kalamata olives. The fruit has a dark purple to almost black skin with a starkly contrasting pink or white flesh. Fruit appear in clusters of just a few or 10-40, are round or oblong, often curved, 1.25-5 cm long, turning from green to light-magenta, then dark-purple or nearly black, although a white-fruited form has been reported in Indonesia.

Fruiting Season

The fruit is in season in the Marquesas in April; in the Philippines, from mid-May to mid-June. In Hawaii, the crop ripens in late summer and fall. Flowering occurs in Java in July and August and the fruits ripen in September and October. In Ceylon, the tree blooms from May to August and the fruit is harvested in November and December. The main fruiting season in India, South Asia and southern Florida (where the tree blooms principally in February and March) extends through late May, June and July. Small second crops from late blooms have been observed in October. Individual trees may habitually bear later than others.

The flesh is extremely juicy and has a flavor that combines sweet and tart with a slightly astringent aftertaste. The skin is thin, smooth, glossy, and adherent. The pulp is purple or white, very juicy, and normally encloses a single, oblong, green or brown seed, up to 4 cm long, though some fruits have 2-5 seeds tightly compressed within a leathery coat, and some are seedless. The fruit is usually astringent, sometimes unpalatably so, and the flavour varies from acid to fairly sweet. The fruit contains a hard seed which should be discarded. When eaten, the dark-colored skin leaves a stain on the lips and mouth that can last for several hours.

Lying closest to the equator, Fuvahmulah is well adapted to plant species. One of the specialist trees that you can find in abundance is the dhambo val, or the trees of jambolan. The scientific name for this tree is Syzygium cumini (S. cumini) (L.) Fuvahmulah has the largest reserve of this great trees in the Maldives.

Jambolan is a large evergreen and densely foliaceous tree with greyish-brown thick bark, exfoliating in woody scales. The wood is whitish, close grained and durable. The leaves are leathery, oblong-ovate to elliptic or obovate-elliptic with 6 to 12 centimeters long (extremely variable in shape, smooth and shining with numerous nerves uniting within the margin), the tip being broad and less acuminate. The panicles are borne mostly from the branchlets below the leaves, often being axillary or terminal, and are 4 to 6 centimeters long.

The genus Syzygium is one of the genera of the myrtle family Myrtaceae which is native to the tropics, particularly to tropical America and Australia. It has a worldwide, although highly uneven, distribution in tropical and subtropical regions. The genus comprises about 1 100 species, and has a native range that extends from Africa and Madagascar through southern Asia east through the Pacific.

It is a multipurpose tree which is highly valued for its medicinal uses, edible fruits, for fodder, for strong heavy timber and good fuelwood.

4 thoughts on “Crawling on the mighty jumbolan tree

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