- TEXTURE: Its texture is richer than most berries and resembles a guava. The Indian Vegan blog writes, the “jam-like flesh contains many small, tasteless seeds, none of which require removal.
- FLAVOR: Many liken the fruit’s taste to grape, blueberries, pomegranates, and raspberries. Others give it a less favorable review, deeming it mouth puckering and astringent. One large determinant of the taste is growing conditions, cultivated Downy Myrtles taste sweeter than wild fruits.” ErnawatiSinaga Blog in Indonesia writes, “This dark purple fleshy berry is edible, sweet and very juicy with a pleasant aromatic odor.
- RAW, PIES, JELLIES, JAMS, FRUIT SALADS, TARTS: “Every part of the berry is edible, including the skin and seeds.” “Select the fruits that are darkest in color for the sweetest, mellowest taste.” “Fruit used for making pies, jellies,” jams, and fruit salads. According to Burkill, the edible fruit may be made into jams and used in tarts.” - DRINKS: In many parts of Indonesia it usually eaten fresh or crushed with sugar, water and ice to make a tasty ice-juice.
- FRUIT WINE: On PhuQuoc Island, Vietnam, a famous wine named Ruou Sim, aka Rose Myrtle Wine or Sim Wine, is made from the ripe fruits. “The recipe originated from various ethnic minority groups living in the central highlands. Most locals drink Sim Wine when they are eating seafood.”
- CANNED FRUIT: Canned in syrup in Vietnam for export.
- CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS: Fruits contain “antioxidant-rich, anti-cancerous anthocyanins.”
MEDICINAL LEAVES, FRUITS AND ROOTS:
- MEDICINAL STUDIES: Studies show the leaf extract contains strong antimicrobialand potent antibacterial properties.
- CHINA - LEAVES: According to the book, “Encyclopedic Reference of Traditional Chinese Medicine,” Downy Myrtle has a number of applications, and healers have used the fruit to tonify the blood, clean the bowels, strengthen kidneys, and preserve semen.” “The Chinese use the leaves as a pain killer, roots to treat heartburnand seeds in a tonic for digestion, and to treat snake bites.
- INDONESIA - LEAVES, ROOTS: In Indonesia, “the roots and leaves are used to treat diarrhea, stomachaches and as a tonicafter childbirth.”
- MALAYSIA - FRUITS, LEAVES, ROOTS: In Malaysia, the roots, fruits and leaves are used to treat diarrhea.”
- OTHER: Many other medicinal properties are mentioned online.
-EXTERNAL USES: “To treat wounds, Indonesians crush the leaves and apply them as a poultice.”
- MEDICINAL STUDIES: “Thai scientists from Prince of Songkla University published a report indicating that the berry’s flesh, when applied topically, reduces acne.”
COSMETIC USES: In Indonesia, the “tar from its wood is used to blacken eyebrows.“
WILDLIFE: Birds and mammals eat the fruits and distribute the seeds within. Birds nest in the branches.
MAIN PHOTO: Was taken July 25, 2015, on Pine Island.
NATIVE TO: Southern and southeastern Asia, from India, east to southern China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, south to Malaysia and Indonesia - Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and other islands.
INVASIVE: It was introduced into Florida around 1920 as an ornamental, and it has spread since then. It is now listed as a Category One invasive in Florida. It is also invasive in French Polynesia and Hawaii.
DESCRIPTION: Fast growing evergreen shrub 3 to 12 feet tall. “The young parts of the plants are whitish and woolly with soft hairs all around.”
- LEAVES: Opposite, elliptic or obovate, obtuse, leathery, 1 to 3 inches long, upside greenish, underneath pale green to white and woolly.
- FLOWERS: Gorgeous, showy pink and whitish-pink flowers, with 5 petals, to 1 inch across, become whitish when faded, appear by the hundreds on mature shrubs, appear mainly in the spring.
- FRUIT: A globose berry, oblong, 1 to cm. long, persistent lobes, greenish-white when unripe and purple-gray when ripe, with a velvety texture, many tiny seeds within.
- HARDINESS: It can tolerate some frost.
- ORNAMENTAL: Grown as an ornamental in some countries. Here in Florida, it should not be planted, in fact, it is illegal to do so, as it is a listed category one invasive plant. Nurseries used to sell it as an ornamental, which I do not observe these days.
- PROPAGATION: Seed germination rates are high.
Rate of GrowthModerate
When to Harvest
Sources for acquiring
Fortunately, Florida nurseries seem to have discontinued selling this very invasive shrub. Lucky for them as it is now illegal to do so, as it is to transport or plant it.