The Java Plum is an evergreen, tropical fruit tree with leathery, bright green leaves and purple, olive-like fruits. It is widely grown in warm regions around the world for its colorful, ornamental fruits. It is also grown as a shade tree. The fruits are edible and juicy and have a sweet or subacid flavor. They are eaten fresh and are also made into tarts, sauces and jam. It is native to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines and Indonesia. The Java Plum is fast-growing, reaching full size in 40 years. It ranges up to 40 or 50 ft tall in Florida; and it may attain a spread of 36 ft with a trunk diameter of 2 or 3 ft. It usually forks into multiple trunks a short distance from the ground. The bark on the lower part of the tree is rough and light brown and further up the trunk it is smooth and light-gray. The turpentine-scented evergreen leaves are opposite, 2 to 10 in. long, 1 to 4 in. wide; oblong-oval or elliptic, blunt or tapering to a point at the apex; pinkish when young; when mature, leathery, glossy, dark-green above, lighter beneath, with conspicuous, yellowish midrib.
The fragrant flowers, in 1-to 4-in clusters, are 1/2 in wide, 1 in (2.5 cm) or more in length; have a funnel-shaped calyx and 4 to 5 united petals, white at first, then rose-pink, quickly shed leaving only the numerous stamens. The fruit, in clusters of just a few or 10 to 40, is round or oblong, often curved; 1/2 to 2 in (1.25-5 m) long, and usually turns from green to light-magenta, then dark-purple or nearly black as it ripens. 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 1½ in. in length. The sweet fruit is readily consumed by a variety of animals. All parts of this plant are used for curative reasons. The flesh of the fruits (or pulp), seeds, leaves, steam- bark etc. It has shown a wide range of medicinal uses traditionally and in alternative medicine.
Seeds are Stored in a Refrigerator to Maintain Viability
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout.
- To scarify the seeds, nick or sand the seed coat with sandpaper.
- Soak the seed in water for several hours.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.