Jambul (Syzygium cumini) is an evergreen tropical tree in the flowering plant family Myrtaceae. Jambul is native to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The name of the fruit is sometimes mistranslated as blackberry, which is a different fruit in an unrelated family.
A fairly fast growing species, it can reach heights of up to 30 m and can live more than 100 years. Its dense foliage provides shade and is grown just for its ornamental value. The wood is strong and is water resistant. Because of this it is used in railway sleepers and to install motors in wells. It is sometimes used to make cheap furniture and village dwellings though it is relatively hard to work on.
Jambul trees start flowering from March to April. The flowers of jambul are fragrant and small, about 5 mm in diameter. The fruits develop by May or June and resemble large berries. The fruit is oblong, ovoid, starts green and turns pink to shining crimson black as it matures. A variant of the tree produces white coloured fruit. The fruit has a combination of sweet, mildly sour and astringent flavour and tends to colour the tongue purple. The seed is also used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda (to control diabetes, for example.), 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.
Jambul has been spread overseas from India by Indian emigrants and at present is common in former tropical British colonies.