Syzigium jambos, commonly known as the rose apple, in no way resembles an apple, neither in the tree nor in its fruit. In fact, this exotic plant which hails from Southeast Asia is a member of the myrtle family.
In general the tree reaches a height from 7.5 to 12 m and has a dense crown of slender, wide spreading branches. Evergreen, the leaves are glossy and an attractive dark-green colour when mature, with a leathery texture. The new leaves have a distinctive pink to red colour when emerging.
From August to March, large creamy-white or greenish-white blossoms appear in terminal clusters with hundreds of showy stamens. The rounded fruit of the Rose apple is creamy yellow with a pink tinge and has a rose fragrance. The yellowish flesh can be crisp to juicy and can be eaten.
The Rose apple is easy to grow, moderately cold hardy and can tolerate poor soils. It should be noted that this tree is categorised as a Category 3 NEMBA invasive plant in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. This means that the tree can be maintained in the garden, but cannot be propagated or sold and must be controlled. The Rose apple is an attractive, ornamental tree that will provide shade and does equally well as a compact, bushy container fruiting plant.