Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Malay Apple

The Malay apple or more correctly Syzygium malaccense is a delight to the eye in every respect. It is admired for the beauty of the tree, its flowers and its colorful, glistening fruits, without parallel in the family Myrtaceae. Here in Venezuela it is called Pomagás. We planted this tree in August 1998 and it is fruiting for us this year for the first time. This is another welcome addition to fruits for Venezuela. The Monkeys love it.
It has the texture of a delicate apple and has a similar flavour. Both white and red wine can be made from its juices.
Pomagás is presumed to be a native of Malaysia. It is commonly cultivated from Java to the Philippines and Vietnam, in Bengal and South India. Portuguese voyagers carried it from Malacca to Goa and from there it was introduced into East Africa. It must have spread throughout the Pacific islands in very early times for it is featured in Fijian mythology. The wood was used by the ancient Hawaiians to make idols. The flowers are considered sacred to Pele, the fiery volcano Goddess.

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