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`Ohi`a`ai

`Ohi`a`ai: Mountain apple fruit

English name:

Mountain apple
Family name:
Myrtaceae (Myrtle family)
Scientific name:
Syzygium malaccense
Introduced by:
Polynesian introduction
Origin:
India and Malaya, Pacific islands
See Also...

  'Awa
  Awapuhi
  Noni
  'Olena

HABITAT

`Ohi`a`ai grows in shady valleys to an altitude of about 1800 feet. It can form groves in the forest. After contact, people planted this species in their yards or private gardens.

CHARACTERISTICS

Stem: `Ohi`a`ai is a perennial tree that reaches a height of 50 feet or less. The bark is gray, smooth and mottled.
Leaves:
The leaves are dark green, shiny, and oval.
Flowers:
Around March and April, it produces short tuft flowers on short stem. The flowers are red (cerise) pompom looking because of the showy stamens.
Mountain Apple tree

Fruits: The fruits, about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide are crisp, pure white, juicy flesh surrounded by thin deep-crimson skin and enclosing a large, single seed. The pulp tastes slightly sweet and is very refreshing. It has been reported that there is a white-flowered, white-fruited form of `ohi`a`ai with no seeds, called `ohi`a-kea.

ECONOMIC VALUES

The fruit is eaten raw and pickled. Eating large quantities can cause diarrhea and Hawaiians have learned to dry the fruit to eliminate this disadvantage. It used a s medicine for thrush and other children's diseases; for deep cuts and open wounds; bad breath with white coating on the tongue; and chewing a piece of the bark for sore throat remedy. The sap from the cut end of the leaf petiole can be used to cure cold sores inside the mouth.

 

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Last Modified: 14-Dec-2010 13:23 HST