Syzygium cordatum
Status: Least Concern
Type: Evergreen
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Names: Msiniga or waterbessie
Appearance: The fruits are oval berries, red to dark-purple when ripe.

General Information

Syzygium cordatum is an evergreen, water-loving tree, which grows to a height of 8–15 m. This tree is often found near streams, on forest margins or in swampy spots. The leaves are elliptic to circular, bluish green on top and a paler green below. Young leaves are reddish. The white to pinkish fragrant flowers are borne in branched terminals and have numerous fluffy stamens and produce abundant nectar. It flowers from August to November.

Uses

This tree is known for its many uses. The fleshy fruit is slightly acidic in flavour and is eaten by children, monkeys, bush-babies, bats and birds. The berries are also used to sometimes make an alcoholic drink. The powdered bark is used as a fish poison. In central Africa the tree is known as a remedy for stomach ache and diarrhoea. It is also used to treat respiratory ailments and tuberculosis. A good quality jelly can be cooked from the ripe fruit. Leaves, bark, roots having a tanning property. The tree is used to produce timber which is used construction and making furniture.

Cultivation

This is a fast-growing tree and can reach up to 1m per year with a rather aggressive root system. Pollarding is practised to produce close, rounded heads of young branches. Plantations of this tree should be planted around water points, springs or on banks of streams or rivers.

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