The sea apple, known also by its scientific name Syzygium grande, is a tall and attractive tree indigenous to Southeast Asia. It commonly grows in coastal areas and is frequently used as a landscape plant. Sea apple trees are often grown for their attractive and fragrant flowers, which bloom in large quantities in the spring.
The sea apple tree is found throughout the Malay peninsula, Thailand, Indochina, Myanmar and Borneo. The tree is commonly found growing wild in stands in sandy and rocky coastal areas. It is never found growing wild inland.
Sea apple trees are tall, growing to 100 feet. They are a quick-growing tree and form a crown that is usually oblong shape. The silhouette is rather irregular and the canopy is open and coarse. The base of the tree may be somewhat fluted, but does not form distinct buttresses. The tree usually grows from a single leader trunk which can reach a girth of over 12 feet.
The tree commonly produces mass flowerings of highly fragrant and attractive blossoms that bloom simultaneously on all trees within the region. The flower of the tree appears usually once, but sometimes twice per year. Each flower lasts from four to five days. The flowers appear in clusters at the end of each branch with pom-pom-like white petals. The fragrance of the flowers is described as sickly sweet and is attractive to a variety of animals, particularly insects.
Leaves, Bark and Fruit
The leaves of the sea apple are oval in shape with eight down turned and pointed ends. They range from 4 to 7 inches long, are shiny, medium green, and leathery in texture. The bark is rough, slightly flaky and mottled gray in appearance. The fruit is oblong or spherical in shape and approximately 2 to 3 inches across. When ripe, it has green leathery skin and a single seed inside. The fruit is attractive to bats, monkeys and birds.
The tree is often used as a landscape plant that is frequently planted around homes. Sea apple is also commonly used as a planting along roadsides. The wood of the tree is also used for ship and house construction. In the past, sea apple has been planted to serve as a fire break.