The Fruit of the Gods

For long in the period of recorded history, the tree been known to have grown in the Indian Sub-continent, and many other adjoining regions of South Asia and around. Jamun or Java Plum (Syzygium Cumini/जांभूळ) is a fairly fast growing species and can live more than 100 years.

Jamun tree has a special significance with the monsoon of the Indian sub-continent. This is the time when big old trees of Jamun whirl in monsoon winds and spread a hint of fragrance in rainy days. The flowering and fruiting varies with the locality, but the general time for the fruit is towards the beginning of the rains. The purple-black fruit of Jamun ripens and is eaten very fondly. The fallen fruit attract a large number of Blue-bottle flies, butterflies, birds and squirrels. The fruits are also eaten by jackals and civets. Industrially, fruits can be made into jams, jellies, juice & puddings.

Jamun is an evergreen, tall and shady tree that grows tall and becomes woody very fast. Mature trees of Jamun bear white and tiny flowers that are usually behind broad pendant trees.

Besides its sweet, sometimes astringent, edible fruit, the seed is also used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda (to control diabetes), Unani and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments. The leaves and bark are used for controlling blood pressure and gingivitis. Wine and vinegar are also made from the fruit. It has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C. Jamun is quite hardy tree and does not require much care. It can tolerate frost as well as long spells of summer. The tree may even be used to reclaim water-logged sites. It can easily be propagated from seeds. Young plants should be provided with a well drained soil, moderate watering and bright sunlight.

Jamun's dense foliage provides shade and is grown for its ornamental value. It makes good fuel too. It is one of the trees on which the tasar silkworm is fed. It may be used as a good agroforestry species. The leaves can be used as fodder and flowers are rich in nectar & yield high-quality honey. Jamun tree is also used in dyeing and tanning.

The Jamun is one of the trees held in veneration by the Buddhists and is often planted near Hindu temples because regarded as sacred to Lord Krishna and to Lord Ganesha. Lord Krishna has been described as having skin the color of Jamun. According to Hindu tradition, Rama subsisted on the fruit in the forest for 14 years during his exile from Ayodhya. Because of this, many Hindus regard Jamun as a 'Fruit of the Gods,' especially in Gujarat state of India. In Maharashtra, Jamun leaves are used as marriage pandals.

The fruit of the Good! Isn't it?! :-)