FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Syzygium cumini

Common Name(s): Java plum


Southeast Asia, India

Ecological Impact

One of the more rapidly spreading non-native species, forming dense canopies that shade out young native trees in wet pinelands, hammocks, and well drained uplands. Reported from 17 natural areas in Pinellas, Lee, Collier, Dade, Palm Beach, and Martin counties. Listed as a category I invasive specie by Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC).


Evergreen tree may grow up to 25 m (80 ft) tall, with young stems grayish white and lower bark coarse and discolored. Leaves opposite, simple, entire, elliptic to boradly oblong, smooth, glossy, somewhat leathery, 5-10 cm (2-5 in) long, short pointed at tips; petioles to 3 cm (1.2 in) long; leaf midrib prominent, yellowish; blades with many lateral veins closely parallel. Flowers white to pinkish, about 1 cm (0.5 in) across, in branched clusters at stem tips; 4 petals, fused into a cup; many stamens. Fruit an ovoid 1 seeded berry to 2 cm (0.8 in) long, dark purplish red, shiny, with white to lavender flesh.

Identification Tips

May be confused with another naturalized non-native, the rose apple (Syzygium jambos) but only grows to 15 m (50 ft) in height; its leaves are longer, to 25 cm (10 in) long; its petals free, not fused into a cap; and its fruits cream-yellow.


Introduced into Florida for ornament and edible fruit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with seeds from the Philippines in 1911 and 1920, and from Java and Zanaibar in 1912.


Found in peninsular Florida, mostly in southernmost counties; documented by herbarium specimens from Plam Beach, Collier, and Lee counties.

Management Strategies

Do not plant. Remove exsisting trees from landscape.


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants