Eugenia atropunctata C.B.Rob.
Eugenia holmanii Elmer
Eugenia junghuhniana Miq.
Eugenia lambii Elmer
Eugenia lucidula Miq.
Eugenia microbotrya Miq.
Eugenia nitida Duthie
Eugenia pamatensis Miq.
Eugenia resinosa Gagnep.
Myrtus cymosa Blume
Syzygium cymosum Korth.
Syzygium micranthum Blume ex Miq.
Syzygium microbotryum (Miq.) Masam.
Syzygium pamatense (Miq.) Masam.
Common Name: Indian Bayleaf
Cultivated tree. It has been lopped at times to keep it small
Photograph by: Raffi Kojian
Indian bayleaf is a medium-sized, evergreen tree with a dense crown; it can grow up to 30 metres tall[
]. The bole can be up to 60cm in diameter[
The leaves are widely used in Indonesia as a flavouring in food, whilst the plant also supplies an edible fruit, medicinal uses, wood and dyes. It is cultivated in Java as fruit-tree[
]. It is a common home-garden tree[
]. Production and local trade is considerable because, for example in Indonesia, the young leaves are sold on almost all local markets and by street vendors, whilst the bark is extensively used for dyeing purposes[
Southeast Asia - Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia.
Widely distributed and locally common as an understorey tree in lowland primary and secondary forests, also in thickets, bamboo forest and teak plantations at elevations up to 1,300 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Plants may commence flowering when 3 years old[
]. Flowering and fruiting take place more or less all year-round[
The wood is brittle, the branches breaking off easily in strong winds[
Regular pruning seems to be tolerated[
Natural regeneration is generally profuse and seedlings can survive under shade for several years[
]. The ripe fruits are edible, although slightly astringent[
]. The fruit is a single-seeded berry, depressed globose to globose, up to 12mm in diameter, dark red to purplish-black when ripe[
Leaves - fresh or dried[
]. The fresh leaves are eaten as vegetable, whilst the dried one serve as a spice[
]. The aromatic leaves, either fresh or dried, are used as a spice in many South-East Asian meat, fish, rice and vegetable dishes[
]. Its use is comparable to that of laurel leaves (bay-leaves) in European cuisine[
]. The leaves are added early on and are left to cook with the dish, as the flavour develops only gradually[
]. The leaves are removed before the dish is served[
]. Leaves are harvested by pruning the tree or by cutting off the tips of twigs[
Leaf and bark extracts are used medicinally against diarrhoea[
The pounded leaves, bark and roots are applied as poultices against itches[
Dried salam leaves contain about 0.17% essential oil. Eugenol and methyl chavicol are important components[
]. Ethanolic extracts of the leaves show antifungal and antibacterial activity[
The tree is often used for underplanting in forest plantations (teak, pine, kauri) in order to reduce excessive development of weeds[
]. The leaves decay relatively slowly and provide large quantities of mulch[
The bark is used for tanning fishing-nets and for dyeing bamboo matting brown-red (for further blackening, the matting is subsequently immersed in mud)[
Methanolic extracts of the leaves show strong nematicidal activity against the pine-wood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus[
The wood is pale brown to pinkish-brown with a purplish tinge[
]. A medium-weight to heavy hardwood, it is used for house building and furniture[
We do not have any more specific information for the wood of this species, but it belongs to a group of timbers trees collectively known as 'kelat[
]'. The general description of kelat timber is as follows:-
The heartwood is a golden brown, greyish brown or brown, with pink or purplish glints; it is not clearly demarcated from the 1 - 4cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is fine; the grain slightly interlocked, sometimes wavy or irregular; there are resin deposits. The wood is heavy; moderately hard; somewhat durable, being moderately resistant to fungi and termites, but susceptible to dry wood borers. It seasons slowly, with a high risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It works well with ordinary tools, nailing and screwing are good so long as the wood is pre-bored; gluing is correct. The wood is used for musical instruments, tool handles, furniture components, ship building, heavy carpentry, flooring, joinery etc[
Seed - should be sown fresh from the fruit, on the surface of loose soil and under shade[
]. It should not be buried, as this seriously reduces the germination percentage[
]. Germination is rapid, starting 1 - 3 weeks after sowing, and is complete after 5 - 12 weeks[
]. The seed loses its viability very rapidly and after 4 - 6 weeks it hardly germinates[
Wildlings can be collected from under adult trees, they should be hardened off in a nursery before being planted out[