Diversity and Ethnobotany of genus Garcinia L. (Clusiaceae) in Assam, Eastern Himalaya
Keywords:Garcinia, Clusiaceae, Diversity, Ethnobotany, Assam, Eastern Himalaya
The genus Garcinia is an important component of the flora of Assam and is well known for being used traditionally in many different ways. To preserve this knowledge, this study recorded the ethnobotanical importance of the genus Garcinia in this region. The study revealed that there are 12 species and one variety of the genus indigenous to Assam.
Methods: This study was conducted in different parts of Assam, Northeast India based on extensive field work involving collection and documentation of members of genus Garcinia. Important characteristic features of the specimens like colour of leaf and stem, branching pattern of the stems, habit, habitat, size, etc. were noted down in the field during collection. Ethnobotanical data were collected by interviewing local communities through a semi-structured questionnaire, interview and literature review.
Results: In present communication, we provide ethnobotanical and botanical descriptions and illustrations of 12 Garcinia species that are popularly used among ethnic communities of Assam for fruits, medicines and fixative or as a mordant for saffron dye. These species consist of G. anomala Planch. & Triana., G. assamica J. Sarma, Shameer & N. Mohanan, G. cowa Roxb. Ex Choisy, G. dulcis (Roxb.) Kurz, G. indica (Thouars) Choisy, G. kydia Roxb., G. lanceifolia Roxb., G. morella (Gaertn.) Desr., G. paniculata Roxb. ex Wight, G. pedunculata Roxb. Ex Buch-Ham., G. nervosa Miq. And G. xanthocymus Hook.f. ex T.Anderson.
Conclusions: This study concludes that documentation and preservation of traditional knowledge associated with Garcinia could generate further research activities for the benefit of human kind. The traditional utilization of Garcinia members observed are most prevalent amongst the rural communities of the studied area. It is also a fact that in spite of having ample economic potential, the species of the genus Garcinia occurring in Assam and also in northeast India has not been studied properly.
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