southern Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(11): 9384–9390; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/jott.26126.96.36.19984-9390
tion and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.
University, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu 624302, India
email@example.com (corresponding author),
the order Myrtales, comprises about
130–150 genera and 5650 species.
This family is distributed in tropical
and concentrated in America as
well as Malesia and Australia. The
species of this family are known for
their rich volatile oils which are of
medicinal importance. Myrtaceae is
easily distinguished from the other
related families by tanniferous evergreen trees or shrubs
with simple and more or less pellucid punctate leaves
with oil glands, curving nerves anastomosing distally
into intra-marginal nerves; numerous brightly colored
and conspicuous epigynous stamens, bisexual flowers
with calyptrate or non calyptrate petals; actinomorphic,
ovary inferior or semi-inferior (Vinodkumar 2003).
About 1,100 species of trees and shrubs which have
a native range extending from Africa and Madagascar to
southern Asia (Raju et al. 2014). The evergreen forests
in the high ranges of the southern Western Ghats are
a potential region for the distribution of Syzygium in
India. Most of the species of Syzygium are economically
important as they are a source of timber, essential
oils, spices, edible fruits, fuelwood and also in folk
medicine. The leaves and bark of most of the species
of this genus have antibacterial (Shyamala & Vasantha
2010), anti-inflammatory (Chaudhuri et al. 1990),
antimicrobial (Kiruthiga et al. 2011), antifungal (Park
et al. 2007; Ayoola et al. 2008), antitumor (Kiruthiga
et al. 2011), antihyperglycemic (Rekha et al. 2010),
antihyperlipidemic, antioxidant (Nassar et al. 2007),
antidiabetic (Nonaka et al. 1992; Kumar et al. 2008),
antigastric and anti-HIV properties (Reen et al. 2006).
The bark of the trees is employed in folk medicine for
the treatment of inflammation (Muruganandan et al.
Being an economically important genus, most
compounds from parts like leaves, bark, and seeds and
thereby are under severe threat of extinction. Of the
52 species reported from the Western Ghats, 26 species
of Syzygium have been listed under the IUCN Red List
category. Among them, five species are included under
Critically Endangered and eight species are under the
Endangered category. Of the species under danger, the
following three species, Syzygium densiflorum Wall. ex
Wight & Arn., Syzygium myhendrae (Bedd. ex Brandis)
Gamble and Syzygium travancoricum Gamble, have not
received much attention from conservation perspective.
All the tree species have potential biochemical
compounds which are used in several indigenous health
care systems. Overexploitation, habitat degradation,
irregular phenological events, lower productivity and
lesser seedling establishment in the natural habitat are
the real factors for the vanishing of the population of
most of the species of Syzygium (Vinodkumar 2003).
ISSN 0974-7907 (Online)
ISSN 0974-7893 (Print)
To prevent the population reductions, alternative
strategies are to be developed to protect these little
known important tree species. In order to assess the
population density of all the three species of Syzygium,
extensive field trips were conducted in different forest
areas of Western Ghats of Kerala (Agasthyamalai)
and Tamil Nadu (Megamalai, Palni hills, Nilgiry) from
October 2014 to April 2016. Further, the populations
of S.travancoricum were also located at Kalasamala
Kavu, the sacred grove of Kerala. The distributional
status of the species was confirmed through field
visit, consultation with herbarium specimens and also
through standard literature. All the three species of
fruiting phenology, seed germination in in vitro and in
vivo, insects or pests, etc.
Wall. ex Wight & Arn., Prodr. 329. 1834; Nair &
Henry. Fl. Tamil Nadu 1. 1983. Vajr., Fl. Palghat District
199. 1990; Anil Kumar, Fl. Pathanamthitta District 265.
1994; Sasidharan et al. KFRI research report. 99. 8. 1994.
Sasidh., Fl. Periyar Tiger Reserve 137. 1998; Sasidh.,
Fl. Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary 129. 1999; Mohanan
& Sivad., Fl. Agasthyamala 261. 2002. Sasidharan et
al. KFRI research report. 282. 2006. Nayar et al. Fl.
Plant of Kerala 451.2006; Maridass, Ethnobotanical
leaflet. 14: 616. 2010. Bruce, Food plants International.
2014. Ramachandran. Adv. Poll. Spor. Res. 30. 167.
2014. Nayar et al. Fl. The Western Ghats, India, 1:674.
2014. Syzygium arnottianum Walp., Rep. 2:180.1843;
Gamble, Fl. Pres. Madras 475(338). 1919; Mohanan
& Henry, Fl. Thiruvananthapuram Dist. 187. 1994;
Subram., Fl. Thenmala Division 134. 1995; Greller et al.
J. South Asian Nat. Hist. 2(2). 165.1997; Swarupandan
et al. KFRI Research report 154. 30. 1998; Menon &
Balasubramanyan., KFRI Research report 281. 28. 2006;
Large canopy trees, above 15m tall, bark surface
blackish-grey, rough; branchlets terete. Leaves aromatic,
simple, opposite-decussate, estipulate; petiole 3–20
mm long, slender, grooved above, glabrous; lamina
3.5–9×1.8–3.7 cm, elliptic-lanceolate or elliptic-oblong,
base attenuate or acute, apex acuminate or caudate-
acuminate, margin entire, glabrous, glandular punctate,
coriaceous, olive-green when dry; finely dotted on
both sides, main nerves numerous, parallel, slightly
ascending, inconspicuous on both sides, secondary
nerves numerous, closely parallel, looping at the margin,
marginal nerve 0.1mm away from the margin. Flowers
bisexual, white, 10–12 mm long, sessile, in dense
clusters forming compact, terminal trichotomous cyme
congested; calyx tube 5mm, turbinate; lobes 4; no thick
disc; petals free, deciduous; stamens many, free, bent
inwards at the middle in bud; ovary inferior, 2-celled,
ovules numerous; style 1; stigma simple. Fruits berry,
oblong-ovoid, dark purple, fleshy, single-seeded. Stalk
and pedicel stout and short.
Vernacular name: Malayalam: Ayuri, Karayambuvu,
Njaval, Vellanjaval, Ayura; Tamil: Kurunjaval, Kuruthal,
Kuruthamaram, Nagay, Naval, Pillanjaval.
Materials examined: MH Acc: No: 174906, 14.iv.2008,
Naduvattam, coll. M. Mohanan & J.V. Sudhakar; MH Acc:
No: 174905, 14.iv.2008, Naduvattam, coll. M. Mohanan
& J.V. Sudhakar. MH Acc: No: 174540, 9.iv.2008,
Naduvattam, coll. M. Mohanan & J.V. Sudhakar; MH Acc:
No: 174541, 9.iv.2008, coll. M. Mohanan& J.V. Sudhakar;
GUH 206, 31.xii.2015, Vattakkanal, Kodaikanal,
11’23.99”E, coll. Felix Irudhyaraj
28’50.32”E, coll. Manikandan
23’59.12”E. coll. Mohanraj &
41’01.73”N & 77
11’23. 99”E, coll. Felix
Irudhyaraj & Sasikala.
Distribution and ecology: It is a native tree which
grows in the riparian/marshy area of evergreen forest
at higher elevations between 1,500–2,300 m (Image
1), reported from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala
(Thiruvananthapuram, Eravikulam, Pathanamthitta,
Kottayam, Idukki, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kasargod) and
Tamil Nadu (Palni Hills, Aanamalai and Nilgiri Hills
Economic importance: The local tribes of the
Nilgiris have been using the leaves of S. densiflorum
for the treatment of diabetes mellitus from ancient
times. Clinical investigators working in India have also
confirmed the effectiveness of S. densiflorum against
diabetes mellitus. Trace elements from this plant make
a good daily supplement for people suffering from bone
and anaemic disorders (Subramanian et al. 2012). The
oil extracted from the leaves possesses a higher anti-
oxidant capacity (Saranya et al. 2013). It has potential
phytochemical compounds such as tannin, saponins,
flavonoids, alkaloids, quinine, cardiac glycosides,
terpenoids, phenols and carbohydrates (Nasrin &
Field status: The large number of mature individuals
of Syzygium densiflorum has been already exploited
from the Palni Hills only a very meager number of mature
individuals and seedlings exist. The mean number of
mature individuals observed at different shola forests
of Palni Hills was only 36±09. S. densiflorum is closely
associated with other shola arboreals like Eleocarpus
recurvatus, E. variabilis, Rhododendron arboreum,
Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, Litsea coriacea and several
Eucalyptus species. The tree growing shola forests have
regular phenoevents, but flowering is not observed as
a regular event in most of the individuals of Syzygium
densiflorum. A very few mature individuals only
flowered once in two years and the period of flowering
was also unpredictable. However, a major percentage
of the flowers and fruits withered away prematurely.
The fruits are edible and also the food source for
many birds, insects, Malabar Giant Squirrel and Nilgiri
Langur. The shelf life of seeds has been observed to be
a maximum of one year, but it is best to be sowed within
4–6 m months. Fresh fruits were brought to the nursery,
depulped manually, dried for some days and sown in
artificial beds (1×1 m plots) prepared in the forest land
and germination was noticed. The seeds showed a
maximum 60% of germination and the least percentage
(13%) of seedlings alone emerged as viable seedlings.
According to the previous literature and recent field
survey, S. densiflorum is distributed in selected forest
areas of the southern Western Ghats. Due to the lack of
updated information, the species being included under
Vulnerable category by IUCN, and authenticated survey
reports have to be communicated to IUCN to include
under the endangered category. During January–
March, five foliicolus fungi viz., Asterina sp., Lambosia
seen on the most part of leaves. The fungal infestation
has also been retarding the growth and reproduction of
(Bedd. ex Brandis) Gamble, Fl. Pres. Madras 478 (338).
1919 [1: 338. 1957 (Repr.)]; V. Chitra in N.C. Nair & A.N.
Henry (Eds), Fl. Tamilnadu Anal. 1: 157. 1983; Gopalan
& Henry, End. Pl. India SW Ghats 398. 2000; Sasidh. et
al. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 26: 609. 2002. Sasidharan et al. KFRI
research report. 282. 2006. Sasidh., Biod. Doc. Kerala pt.
6, Fl. Pl.: 178. 2004; Nayar et al. Fl. Pl. Kerala-Handb.:
451. 2006. Nayar et al. Fl. Plant of Kerala.452.2006;
Nayar et al. Fl. The Western Ghats, India, 1:677. 2014.
1906; Bourd., Forest Trees Travancore 189. 1908; Rama
Rao, Fl. Pl. Travancore. 171. 1914.
Medium sized trees, upto 12m high, bark greyish
pink; branchlets tetragonous. Leaves aromatic, simple,
opposite, estipulate; petiole 2–5 mm long, slender,
glabrous; lamina 3–7 x 2–2.5 cm, oblanceolate or
obovate, base cuneate, apex obtusely acuminate, tip
of acumen obtuse, margin entire, glabrous, coriaceous;
lateral nerves many, slender, close, parallel, obscure,
looped at the margin forming intramarginal nerves;
intercostae reticulate, obscure. Flowers; petals free,
bisexual, small, white, sessile in terminal corymbose
cymes of umbellules, branches of inflorescence
quadrangular; calyx tube 3mm, turbinate; lobes 4, round,
petals 4, caducous; stamens many, regularly folded at
middle in bud, 5mm long; ovary inferior, 2-celled, ovules
many; style filiform, shorter than the stamens; stigma
simple, acute. Fruit sessile, 7–8 mm across, globose,
pink-purple, crowned by persistent calyx limb (Images 2
Materials Examined: GUH 231, 07.vi.2014, Kardana
30’N & 77
12’29.60”N & 77
Ramasubbu & Manikandan; GUH 212, 19.iii.2016,
32’N & 77
Ramasubbu & Mohanraj; GUH 203, 28.vi.2015,
30’N & 77
30’E, coll. Divya &
Ramasubbu; GUH 219, 20.iii.2016, Megamalai, 9
30’N & 77
30’E, coll. Anjana & Felix Iruthyaraj.
Distribution and ecology: Syzygium myhendrae is
mainly distributed in Karnataka, Kerala (Idukki, Kollam,
Thiruvananthapuram) and Tamil Nadu (Mutukuzhivayal,
Tirunelveli) (Shareef & Rasiya 2015). Recently, it has
been collected from the Megamalai Hills, Theni District,
Phenology: Flowers in June and fruit set in September.
Image 1. Flowers of Syzygium densiflorum
© R. Ramasubbu
Pl. Alappuzha Dist. 333. 2000; Balasubramaniam et al.
J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 29 (2): 382. 2005; Nayar et al. Fl. Plant
of Kerala.453. 2006; Krishnakumar & Shenoy J. Econ.
Taxon. Bot. 30(4): 900. 2006; Subash et al. The open
Conservation Biology Journal. 2:1. 2008; Udhayavani et
al. NeBIO. 4(5).68. 2013. Ramachandran. Adv. Poll. Spor.
Res. 30: 167. 2014; Nayar et al. Fl. The Western Ghats,
India, 1:674. 2014.
Medium sized to large trees, upto 25m high, bark
grayish brown; branchlets distinctly four angled, glabrous,
longitudinally fissured, peeling off in thin irregular flakes,
inner bark grey. Leaves simple, opposite, exstipulate,
ovate to elliptic, lamina 10–17×5–10 cm, base narrowed
and decurrent, apex bluntly acuminate, papery, hairless,
obtuse, margin entire, chartaceous, shiny; lateral nerves
10–15 pairs, parallel, distantly arranged, prominent,
looped near the margin forming indistinct intramarginal
nerve, intercostae reticulate, faint, joining near margin;
petioles 2cm long. Flower small, bisexual, about 3mm
across, white, mildly fragrant, arranged in 8–15 cm long
axillary corymbose cymes, 5–8 cm long, peduncle 4.5–8
cm long, their branches also long, ascending; calyx tube
short, 1mm across, lobes 4, very short; no thickened
staminal disc; petals white, calyptrate; stamens
numerous, free, bent inwards at middle when in bud;
ovary inferior, 2- celled, ovules many; style 1; stigma
simple. Fruit, a berry, smooth, hairless, oblong-obtuse
on both sides, 1x0.5 cm, deep violet, pericarp juicy; seed
one, white (Image 4).
Vathamkollimaram, Kulirmavu, Thenmavu; Tamil:
Materials examined: K000821398, 6.iii.1995, coll. T. F.
Bourdillon; MH Acc No. 113361, 1.iii.1979, Sacred grove
Kodumon, coll. C.N Mohanan; 113360, 1.iii.1979, Sacred
grove Kodumon, coll. C.N. Mohanan; 113362, 4.iv.1980,
sacred grove Kodumon, coll. C.N Mohanan; 113363,
4.iv.1980, sacred grove Kodumon, coll. C.N. Mohanan;
113358, 4.iv.1980, AickadAdoor, coll. C.N. Mohanan;
GUH 221, 18.vii.2015, Keel Nadugani, 11
22’451E, coll. Mohanraj & Manikandan; GUH 226,
40’27.8N & 76
Manikandan & Mohan; GUH 228, 08.iii.2016, Nadukani,
24’458E, Felix Iruthyaraj; GUH 234,
28’183N & 76
Mohanraj & Ramasubbu; GUH 227, 07.ii.2016, Palode,
Thiruvananthapuram, coll. Ramasubbu & Mohanraj.
Distribution: Syzygium travancoricum distributed
in Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta,
Kollam, Thrissur, Kulathupuzha, Wayanad and Idukki)
and Tamil Nadu (Nadukani, Nilgiri Hills) and exclusively
found in such swampy area of evergreen forest in
higher elevation between 500–1,200 m (Vinodkumar
2003). But most of the individuals are protected under
Kalasamala sacred groves at Kerala (Image 5). These
species also occur in Uttara Kannada, Kumaradhara river
riparian forest (Karnataka). The dominated populations
of S. travancoricum also exist in Thirthahalli, Shimoga
Phenology: The flowering and fruiting period of the
species recorded from April–February. However, the
flowering and fruiting periods were not regular events
and severe oscillations were observed during the study
known for its astringent, bactericidal, hypoglycemic,
and neuropsychopharmacological effects and for their
significant odors (Jirovetz et al. 2001; Radha et al. 2002).
The antimicrobial activity of essential oil was found to
be more effective on yeasts than on bacteria. It has
some major compounds such as trans β-ocemene, trans
β-aryophyllene, α-humulene and α-farnesene (Shafi et
Field status: Bourdillon collected the species in March
1895 in Swampy places of Travancore, Kerala and it was
described by Gamble in 1981. The tree was said to be
extinct once, but it was rediscovered by Krishnakumar
& Shenoy (2006) from the forests of Dakshina Kannada,
mainly Netravathi basin. Recently this species has
been included in the Flora of Tamil Nadu (Thomas &
Ramachandran (2014). In Kerala, very few individuals
have been reported from a sacred grove at Kundumon
and Aikad of Quilon (Nair & Mohanan 1981).
According to the IUCN list, this tree is considered as
critically endangered and grows partially in the interior
area of Kumaradhara. These species are associated
with some endangered species such as Hopea ponga,
Veteria indica and some vulnerable species such as
Ochreinauclea missionis and Gymnacranthera canarica
(Ramachandran et al. 2013).
Several factors are responsible for the reduction
of the population of these tree species in the natural
habitats. Some insects such as Bracon fletcheri Silvestri
and Ophiorrhabad sp. are reported as major infestation
agent on fruits of S. travancoricum which is the major
casual factor affecting natural regeneration of the
species (Hussain & Anilkumar 2015). The seed pest
incidence, therefore, is responsible and predicts the
endangerment of the species in the near future and
warrants conservation measures for posterity.
Further, in vitro seed germination confirms its
viability upto 76% and healthy seedlings were developed
at mist house, GRI. A plant tissue culture technique has
been adapted to propagate in large number. Very few
explants responded and the research work in progress.
Saplings of S. travancoricum were established through
vegetative cuttings of roots and stems.
Syzygium densiflorum, S. myhendrae and S.
travancoricum face severe problems due to low seed
viability, the incursion of exotic trees into the forest
area, an extension of agricultural land, illegal timber
trading, forest degradation and depletion by human
invasion. It has a direct effect on the reduction of this
tree population in the natural habitat. Their rarity
in the Western Ghats indicates thinner population
status and therefore warrants immediate action for its
conservation and restoration. A proper conservation
measure has to be taken for their effective conservation
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Heavy metal distribution in mangrove sediment cores from selected
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-- P. Santhoshkumar, P. Kannan, B. Ramakrishnan, A. Veeramani,
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