Syzygium jiewhoei : A new species of Bush Cherry from Papua Province, Indonesia.

Bush Cherries, Syzygium spp., are evergreen trees and shrubs in the Myrtle Family, Mytaceae, found across Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Australia. Over a thousand species of these plants have been described, with almost 200 from New Guinea, though this is thought to represent only a fraction of the group’s diversity on the island, many areas of which have been subject to only limited surveys by botanists.

Syzygium jiewhoei : A new species of Bush Cherry from Papua Province, Indonesia.

In a paper published in the Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore on 20 November 2017, Greg Hambali of the Taman Buah Mekarsari and the Yatazawa R & D Gardens, Sri Sunarti of the Herbarium Bogoriense of the Indonesian Institute of Science, and Yee Wen Low of the Herbarium at Singapore Botanic Gardens, Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, describe a new species of Bush Cherry from Papua Province, Indonesian New Guinea.

The new species is named Syzygium jiewhoei, in honour of Tan Jiew Hoe for his great interest in natural history, particularly in the fields of botany and horticulture. It is a tree reaching 9 m in height with grayish-brown, papery, peeling bark, and leaves that reach 105 cm in length and 25 cm in width. It produces clumps of up to 250 white flowers directly from the trunk of the tree, the fruit are ellipsoid in shape, grooved, salmon-pink in colour, and sour tasting.

Syzygium jiewhoei. (A) Young leaves. (B) Cauliflorous habit with many inflorescences at various stages. (C) Close-up of inflorescences showing flowers at anthesis. (D) Close-up of infructescence. Greg Hambail in Hambali et al. (2017).
The species has been found in the wild only around Timika in Papua Province, however it has been introduced as a cultivated tree in Singapore and Java, and appears to be prospering in both places.

Syzygium Jiewhoei (Papua Guava) is a new species that was first cultivated in Mr Tan Jiew Hoe’s garden in Singapore, on July 3, 2016. Although it was first cultivated in Singapore, this plant is native to Indonesia, precisely in the Kuala Kencana Forest, Timika. , Papua New Guinea.

Syzygium jiewhoei is a majestic free-flowering tree with a rather broad conical crown, which makes it a highly sought-after ornamental tree. When mature, it produces showy inflorescences on its stems. Syzygium jiewhoei flowers produce a lot of nectar for up to three days after blooming, attracting many Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) and stingless bees (Trigona laeviceps). The salmon pink fruit of Syzygium jiewhoei ranges from ovoid to broad and slightly oval ellipsoid.

Syzygium jiewhoei : A new species of Bush Cherry from Papua Province, Indonesia.


The first time this plant was discovered was when in 1993, Freeport established a plant nursery in Timika under the Incubator Project, Hambali discovered some interesting young plants of an unknown Syzygium species with very long dangling leaves in the Kuala Kencana forest area. Ten years later, Hambali visited Timika again and this provided an opportunity to obtain seeds and seedlings of the distinctive Kuala Kencana Syzygium species for cultivation. From these materials, one plant was successfully established and thrives in Mr Tan Jiew Hoe’s garden in Singapore. Trees in Singapore eventually produce flowers and fruit, providing researchers with sufficient material to research for this study. It was concluded that the attractive Kuala Kencana Syzygium was an undescribed novelty of West New Guinea and was named here as Syzygium jiewhoei Hambali, Sunarti & YWLow.

This plant is named for its foliage which is very similar to that of Anthurium veitchii Mast. (Araceae), named after Mr. Tan Jiew Hoe, a science philanthropist with a keen interest in natural history, particularly in the fields of botany and horticulture.


This plant is classified as similar to Syzygium recurvovenosum (Lauterb), but is somewhat different and not completely similar. If left in the wild, the tree can reach 9 meters in diameter with a diameter as high as the chest of an adult. This plant has a thin bark, peeling, grayish brown. The leaves are green, have a prominent rectangular texture and are winged. When young, it becomes cylindrical on older branches. The leaves will be purplish when young, opposite and crossed on erect shoots, making the leaves appear in two rows when viewed from above.

Distribution and habitat.

Since its discovery, Syzygium jiewhoei has only been known from lowland forests around Timika, Papua New Guinea Province. However, the species has now been introduced for cultivation as an ornamental tree in Bogor and Singapore. And now it has become an ornamental plant that has high selling value.


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