"Rose Apple"

Dominik Wujastyk dom at uclblr.iisc.ernet.in
Thu Mar 16 16:11:05 UTC 1995

Okay: here's the lowdown on the Rose Apple, following some recent
discussion with C Ramankutty at the Arya Vaidya Shala, Kottakal, and
some poring over books in his reference library:

English         Skt     Latin                   Hindi           Tamil/Malayalam

Rose apple      ?       Syzygium jambos, Linn.  Gulabjaman      Peru~naaval
                        (Eugenia jambos)

Java plum       Jambuu  Syzygium cuminii, Linn. Jaman, Jam      ~Naaval
Jaman                   (Eugenia jambolana)
Black plum

I can so far find no convincing evidence that S. jambos is called Jambuu
in Skt. (pace Nadkarni and Monier Williams).  In fact, I cannot find
*any* name for it in Sanskrit.

Garcia da Orta (1501--1568), though, says that the Rose Apple "or
Jambos" (clearly described, pp.236 f. of 1913 ed. of the Markham tr.)
has recently been introduced from Malacca.  Nadkarni also says that the
Rose Apple is a native of the East Indies. If this is right, that
obviously rules out the Rose Apple as a symbol for the ancient continent
of India.

If this is right, "Jambuudviipa" should be translated as "The Island of
the Black Plum Tree".



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