Syzygium cumini

Syzygium cumini  (L.) Skeels  (MYRTACEAE)
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Common name
Kannada – Nerale.

Description:  Trees, up to 16 m tall; bark smooth, light grey. Leaves opposite, variable in shape, ovate, to elliptic-lanceolate or elliptic-oblong, up to 16 x 5 cm, narrowed at base, acute, acuminate or rarely obtuse at apex, chartaceous; lateral nerves distinct beneath; petiole up to 3 cm long. Flowers small, in ramiflorous or axillary, panicled cymes, dirty white.  Calyx tube obscurely lobed. Corolla calyptrate; lobes 4. Stamens numerous. Ovary inferior, 2-locular. Fruit a berry, globose or oblong, up to 4 cm across, purple when ripe, juicy.  Seed solitary.

Flowering & Fruiting: February – September.

Distribution: Almost throughout India. Common in deciduous and semi-evergreen forests of most districts. Sri Lanka, Malesia and Australia.

Uses: Fruits edible, used in making wine, vinegar, jellies and jam. Timber used for building and agricultural purposes. It is also used for boat building, oars, tool handles, cartwheels, well-curbs, sleepers, furniture, plywood, and as props for shafts and galleries in mines.  The wood is a moderately good fuel. Bark is used in dyeing and tanning. Leaves form palatable fodder for cattle and also used as green manure. Seeds are used as feed for livestock. Planted as an avenue tree. Bark astringent, used in gargles; bark and leaf used in diarrhoea; decoction of bark and powdered seed used in diabetes; root, bark, leaf, fruit and seed are used in haemorrhage, burning sensation and polyuria; fruit stomachic, carminative and diuretic.