Duhat / Java Plum

One of the first signs of summer is the arrival of duhat in the local markets. duhat1 Today I could not resist a huge basket filled to the brim with large duhats. Also known as Java Plum (Syzygium cumini), ripe duhat are oblong or round in shape, about the size of a medium to large olive, and possess a purple to black (when ripe) thin skin and a white pulp surrounding a single seed. The fruit is generally described as “aphud” or astringent and can be distasteful to quite sweet. “Aphud” is a uniquely Filipino description, as the fruit isn’t just astringent, it reacts with your tongue and mouth lining in an almost numbing manner, albeit fleeting. It is a textural experience. Hard to describe and I haven’t done it properly…

Duhat are native to India, Burma, Sri Lanka and the Andaman islands (recently moved by the Dec 26 tsunami) and is believed to have made its way to the Philippines in pre-historic times. duhat2The tree thrives throughout the archipelago. Extremely hardy, the tree bears fruit in varying degrees of abundance from season to season. Locally, you see duhat from March to June. There is an abundance of duhat, not enough people want to eat it when it ripens across the country. It is a pain in the neck to harvest as you have to almost hand-pick the fruit to get the riper ones. When it bears fruit, the trees are messy and smelly… birds munch on the fruit and poop as they fly off leaving a wicked purple stain wherever their poop lands… worse, the fermenting fruit around the tree really smells and attracts swarms of flies.

Having said all that, duhat are an acquired taste that usually brings back childhood memories for those who grew up in the Philippines and lived near a duhat tree at sometime during the summer. I like to take generous bowls of the ripe fruit, toss them with rock salt and eat to my hearts content. Apparently it makes a great duhat jelly and even a sweet wine (explains the fermentation smells). Today I bought 500 grams from the market and even at the astronomical price of P100 a kilo, it was worth it. Duhat doesn’t keep long so eat it within a day of purchasing it. Little known trivia — duhat thrives in California around the Santa Barbara area, but conditions do not allow it to bear fruit…


68 Responses

  1. Yes, this is lumboy for all those Cebuanos and Visayans out there. Also known as Longboi for some Bicolanos, Ilocanos and Ibanags; dungboi for igorots; duatnasi for pampangenos, etc.

  2. From what i have heard, Duhat is supposed to be very good for those with Diabetes.

  3. We have the largest and sweetest duhat in Lubang Islands. That’s in Mindoro Occidental. I haven’t fully establsihed the reason why but the island seems to be thickly populated (together with kasuy) with the tree. Some are more than a century old and these trees bear the largest and sweetest fruits. We are planning to turn duhat and kasuy this fruiting season into wine to correspond to the grape’s red and white wine. They wine should be commercially available in July of August this year.

  4. This does remind me of childhood! I remember eating duhat with rock salt after swimming in my great grandmother’s house. I would eat tons and get their deep purplish stain on everything. I recently was at a friend’s place in Matabungkay and relived this summer tradition. They had two kinds of duhat trees, one bearing the fruits shown above and another bearing a smaller variety (just slightly larger than a blueberry) that had no seed! Both were great and the taste did not differ much. The great thing about the small ones was that you could stuff your mouth with a handful without getting any seeds…

  5. On a recent trip to Cebu, I discovered lumboy leaves being sold in the mercado. They are rolled with a thin strip of tobacco and smoked. It’s very tasty, and is not necessary to inhale. I can’t figure out how they get the dry leaves to stay rolled (the leaves are sold both pre-rolled and unrolled). They remind me of Indian “bidis”.

  6. James how interesting. Never knew they smoked lumboy leaves. I wonder if it has a narcotic or caffeine like effect. Or does it add flavor like say cloves in Indonesian cigarettes?

  7. Danica, other than the basic info in the post about duhat’s likely origins in India/Andaman area, I don’t much else about the history of the fruit.

  8. sana may history, legend, o kahit na anong written records (references) kung papaano nagoriginate ang duhat…..

  9. Mark, I understand you are from U.P., perhaps if you check the library and the materials of Doreen Fernandez you will find what you need. Certainly there must be a lot of information on duhat that is not at the touch of a search engine…

  10. Please post the history of duhat and what kind of stain is in it… and how effective duhat to ba a marker ink… tnX…

  11. i just bought duhat in alaminos and the lady told me that it is best eaten after drying under the sun for a day..it becomes sweeter and more tasty..

  12. meron sana mga included na vitamins and minerals or mga cures na nagagawa ng duhat.,.,

  13. I remember way in the Phil. they even use the bark of the lomboy,duhat tree to treat a diareah problem and also the leaves will do the same. I can’t wait my lomboy tree here in Stockton Ca. to bear fruit ,I have 2 trees of lomboy in my back yard it’s about 12 feet high wright now. I talked to the owner of a duhat lomboy growers in South Texas and told me that the harvest of the lomboy duhat fruit is next month 50 cents a lbs if you pick them higher if they pick it for you. you can log in to their wbsite and look @ the lomboy duhat trees they have.www.revirsendnursery.com

  14. samson, I am sure MANY Filipinos will be happily shocked to know there are LUMBOY trees in Texas and fruit to boot!!! Thanks for that information.

  15. what is the indication and contraindication of duhat fruit? and how to prepare it?

  16. can you give me an idea or a certain detail about duhat which is being use for the ink in some pen?Can you cite some details about it?Pls email me ???pls because i need it in my research in our subject.ok? pls?????????

    if you dont mind please mail me because i need it in my research.
    Thank you?????

    God bless

  17. Catherine, I have no idea how duhat can or could be used in ink… I suggest you hit more serious sources for your research project… Good Luck!

  18. interesting fruit indeed haha. and its gotten quite a lot of feed back about it too. cool. hehe.

  19. Duhat is also one of my favourite fruits back home. I have a lot fun memories with duhat when i was a kid. After we come from the market, i would wash them and put them in a container soaked in water and put it in the fridge for a few hours coz i like mine cold. I like the soft ones, it’s easy to chew and it’s sweet. However, i always get into trouble for dipping the duhat in too much salt! hehehe Too bad that the last 2 times i’ve been back home, they’re not in season yet…

  20. We received a basket of duhat just the other day from a friend who has a farm in Antipolo. The velvety, bitter taste wouldn’t go away even after we paired it with rock salt. But then I took the cue from my experimental 9-yr old nephew who laced his duhat with WHITE SUGAR before popping them into his mouth…. and voila! A new twist to the old duhat-and-salt combo. The sugar really brought out the juiciness of the fruit. Try it sometime!

  21. thanks for the information!!!im having my science investigatory
    project entitled “utilization of duhat fruit as tea” and im glad i found this site which cud be of big help especially if im going to do the review of related lit…wanna help? hehe…agen,thank u and i hope u continue having further researches on dis fruit and with the other philippine natives…

  22. wat r d chemical contents of dis fruit? having it chemicaly analyzed,wil it cost me a thousand?

  23. Hi. I will also be using duhat for an investigatory project. I thought of using it as ‘dye’. Since nagstastain, most probably, pwede magkulay. Do you think it will work? Thanks

  24. I planted 3 Java Plum trees when i first moved to my house in south Florida 10 years ago, they are huge now, but it is the first year I have fruit (maybe I never noticed, they are by the road, it’s a great traffic blocker)

    I just googled this tonight, as I decided to make jelly for the first time with them tonight, I had my husband bring a quart in, and I find now that it wasn’t enough. Just boiling them and putting sugar with it without agitating it too much, takes most of the astringent taste away, to my utter surprise. We had tasted them the other day outside, and both my husband and I kept saying “not bad!” then “eeuw!” and spitting it out. The grapes that grow wild on the fence have that same taste, but if you boil them and thin out the flavor, its wonderful! Wish me luck on the jam.

  25. Audrey, HOW FASCINATING!!! I suspect there are thousands of Filipinos now living in the United States who would figuratively KILL for a little basket of your java plums… And yes, good luck with the jam, I have never tried jam out of the java plums!

  26. does any one have any idea how long it takes for duhat tree to bear fruit.Iplanted 2 trees here in central florida and am eager for my grand kids to sample fruits i know as a child.Sad to observe that kids dont appreciate fruits if it’s not frpm the supermarket one reason why i have pomelo langka duhat avocado peach and oranges in my yard.Tnx

  27. I had the same question as Daniel but I just noticed Audrey’s post. She is also located in South Florida. She said that it took ten years to bare fruit. It looks like Daniel P and I are going to have to be patient.

    Anyone know how to speed up the fruit baring process with fertilizer or pruning?


  28. actually im a sucker for this fruit when i was young.my grandma used to put some salt in it or mixed with salt.i really love the taste of this fruit.but the worst thing is,it stains on your plain white T’s.

  29. Syzygium jambolanum seed powder seems to be one of the most intensively studied antidiabetic agents of plant origin.
    In Ayurveda, the inner bark of the jambul tree is also considered valuable in the treatment of diabetes. The bark is dried and burnt. This produces an ash of white color. This ash should be pestle in the mortar, strained and bottled. The diabetes patient should be given 66 centigrams of this ash on an empty stomach with water in the morning and 1.33 grams each time in the afternoon and the evening, an hour after meals, if the specific gravity of the urine is 1.02 to 1.03. If the specific gravity ranges between 1.035 to 1.055, the ash should be given thrice daily in the quantity of two grams at a time.

  30. duhat ısts nıce to eat ım a pregnant almost 2 months ı want to eat phılıppıne food but what can ı do.nobodys here phılıppıne food ın turkey.ım leavıng ın turkey.phılıppıne food ıs the best ıts dıfferent to other food

  31. our duhat dropped fruit at 3 y.o. so we expect much fruit this year& we love it,they are from seed. live in central fl. 6-6-6- fertilizer we use. “prune “the (leaders) for more fruit instead of ‘tree wood’ good luck.

  32. ask a nursery how to” RING A TREE”. FOR MORE FRUIT. do not ‘GIRDLE ‘the tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. we have an investigatory project……….and i plan to study the lumboy fruit or known as duhat…..to make it as an alernative oil……..is it possible that i can make an oil out
    of it? because when i research, i found out that it has a chemical composition called sesquiterpene hydrocarbons???( if i were no mistaken)

  34. i would greatly appreciate addresses where i can order duhat fruit,i live in central florida. THANKS SO MUCH,LORD BLESS!

  35. Yes, Duhat can be turned into wine. We are actually producing them by the container van here in the Philippines. They are already in California. It is called Haliya Black Plum Light Fruit wine. Please check out haliyawines.com
    We also have Haliya Mango wine.

  36. i checked haliyawines.com. i dont see any fruits to order.Its just abt the wine.
    I want these fruits- Jamun- Duhat.. im in dallas, is there any way where i can find these fruits in USA? Please help me.
    Thank you.

  37. tried to remove the seeds of duhat, about a kilo of it yielded a glass, blended it with 3 tbsps honey and 2 glasses of cold water. Wow, great unique tasting fresh shake!

  38. There was a large duhat tree in the backyard of a neighbor.
    We called it my mother called it the Philippine Cherry.

    And I do think that the fruit might have some sort of antioxidant properties, because fruits that are purple and stain always seem to be on the “good for you full of anti-oxidants” list.

    The link to the nursery in Texas that has Duhats corrected is > riversendnursery.com

  39. i am trying to find a vendor to order java plums to make honeywine. i need 10 to 20 lbs sent to me by mail, as i am sure not to find them in ohio… i have a friend with the last name “rotramel” which is the name for honeywine made with java plums. i thought it would be sweet to make some for him and his family.

  40. Duhat also grows in Los Angeles. I have a tree bearing fruit for the last 3 seasons and I have a seedless variety I trasplanted to the ground about a year ago. They are available in local Asian nurseries.

  41. It also thrives in Florida. I picked some today from a tree on Merritt Island, Florida. That’s also where the Kennedy Space center is located.

  42. I live in Tarpon Springs, FL (north of Clearwater on the Pinellas County peninsula), and have a java plum tree which is about 30 feet tall. I planted it about 10 years ago (it was about 2′ tall) and it has produced an abundant amount of fruit every year for the past 7 years. I haven’t tried to make jelly or wine yet, but I will next season. I live on a lake and the birds and other critters seem to really enjoy it! My husband hates the purple stains on the deck, though.

  43. im here in ny nd i never had Duhat in a while i was wondring if any one willing to send me i will pay them for atleast 5 lbs of Duhat

  44. melanie, can I ask, “DID YOU BOTHER TO READ THE POST AND UNDERSTAND IT BEFORE ASKING FOR THE ENGLISH NAME AND SCIENTIFIC NAME THAT IS PLAINLY WRITTEN IN THE POST FOR YOU AND ALL TO SEE???” If there is anything that irks me royally it is people who ask for help when the answer is right in front of them, delivered on a silver platter. Good grief, Exert some effort before asking for assistance! :(

  45. I agree with you Frau. I think that “lumboy” has the same nutrients as blueberry and the expensive Acai berry…the taste?…almost the same… and you, chemists out there, why not take a look on the “damortis” as we call it in Ilocano or the kamatsili (in Tagalog). I’m sure it contains nutrients which make our eyes and mouth wide open.
    And Melanie, have you figured out the English name of lumboy? It’s JAVA PLUM, my dear.

  46. There is a big ‘lumboy’ tree outside our office and I have been telling my officemates that this is the Philippine equivalent to the blueberry. Blueberries are considered the superfood as they contain high levels of antioxidants.

  47. The ‘lumboy’ fruit would taste better under favorable soil conditions. Poor soil with depleted micronutrients would definitely lead to sour tasting fruit. One way to improve the fruit’s taste is to use organic fertilizer imprenated into the ground around the tree. Do it twice, at least; once before the tree begins to bloom and one more before the fruits mature. If you want to make it more dramatic, use organic foliar with a high dose of boron.

  48. Ali, ‘duhat’ is in season. If you care to give me your mailing address, I’ll send you fruits that are personally selected for your pleasure. For more information, please email me:


  49. do you guy sell java plum(duhat)? i went to the website marketmania.com and there no links to go to to purchase the java plum tell me where i need to go to purchase this fruit.

  50. I like your website and will visit often. I chanced on Market Manila while searching for a local Philippine fruit that has similar nutrient qualities as the North American blueberry, a fruit sold (processed) but not grown here.) Based on color, lumboi is the runaway favorite.
    In the past I would navigate to DOST and FNRI for more nutrition data on foods, but the current scientists are more interested in formulating recipes for fad foods that they then offer to processors.

  51. My husband planted this tree in front of my house not knowing it will become a huge tree. It bears fruit now and my neighbors steal it during the day when everybody is not around. we are the only one that has this fruit tree in Long Beach, Cal. It’s so good and everytime i eat this fruit, my system goes regularly.Since I am diabetic, I am doing a study on this fruit eatint it and not taking my meds, if my sugar will go down.

    Thelma Ulanday
    Long Beach, California

  52. I live in Honolulu. Lomboy in Oahu and the other islands is considered invasive. Trees are cut on a regular bases in the forest for they tend to grow fast and choke out the native trees. I hope this will never happen in the other states. I guess we just have to be careful and make sure the seeds don’t get to spread in the forest.



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