Malabar plum

Native to South-East Asia, Malabar plum is a small shrub or tree with attractive white flowers. Malabar plum has been planted in Queensland as a garden ornamental and fruit tree.

Despite its popularity, Malabar plum could become a costly pest, potentially replacing native plants in rainforest habitats. It can also serve as a host for the myrtle rust fungus, which can seriously damage native forests.

Malabar plum is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Syzygium jambos

Other names

  • Jambos, jamrosa, rose apple, plum rose

Description

  • Small shrub or tree 6-15m tall with dense foliage and several stems arising from single base.
  • Leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 10-20cm long, 2.5-5cm wide.
  • Petioles are about 10mm long.
  • Flowers are whitish-green, up to 8cm in diameter, with numerous long stamens up to 5cm long.
  • Fruits are globose, yellowish, 2.5-4cm in diameter.
  • Each fruit contains 1-2 seeds, 2-2.5cm in diameter.

Habitat

  • Prefers coastal, high-rainfall habitats, particularly tropical and subtropical rainforests.

Distribution

  • Currently sparingly naturalised but has potential to spread over much larger areas in Queensland.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Forms dense thickets, replacing native vegetation in coastal, high-rainfall areas.
  • Host for fungal disease guava rust, which has potential to damage rainforests and other forest types.

How it is spread

  • Seeds are dispersed primarily by birds that consume fruit.

Legal requirements

  • Malabar plum is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information