also known as Indian jujube, Indian plum, Chinese date, Chinese apple, and dunks.
José our gardener has introduced yet another unsual tree to our gardens and the challenge as always is to decide how to eat or use the fruit.
In Spain they can sometimes be found high up in the mountains growing wild as a bushy shrub. They can exist with little water, and the fruit develops over a few months; starting out pale green and moving on to yellow, red and finally looking like an orange apple.
Like most other fruits they can be eaten raw, pickled, dried or as a drink. And like our other imported tree, the African Coral Tree, there are many claimed medicinal uses. We do not recommend any but maybe it is interesting to know that in India, Australia and Africa claimed uses according to Wikipedia include:
Being applied to cuts and ulcers; employed in pulmonary ailments and fevers; and, mixed with salt and chili peppers, are given in indigestion and biliousness. The dried ripe fruit is also a mild laxative. The seeds are sedative and are taken, sometimes with buttermilk, to halt nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains in pregnancy. They check diarrhea, and are poulticed on wounds. Mixed with oil, they are rubbed on rheumatic areas. The leaves are applied as poultices and are helpful in liver troubles, asthma and fever and, together with catechu, are administered when an astringent is needed, as on wounds. The bitter, astringent bark decoction is taken to halt diarrhea and dysentery and relieve gingivitis. The bark paste is applied on sores. The root is purgative. A root decoction is given as a febrifuge, taenicide and emmenagogue, and the powdered root is dusted on wounds. Juice of the root bark is said to alleviate gout and rheumatism. Strong doses of the bark or root may be toxic. An infusion of the flowers serves as an eye lotion.
The fine grained timber is used in boat building, roof constructions, tool handles, and charcoal. It even has green credentials as the seeds can be turned into biodiesel. And as if that is not enough the fruit can, should you ever wish, be used to stupify fish!