CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 91, NO. 4, 25 AUGUST 2006
*For correspondence. (e-mail: email@example.com)
Tamil Nadu Forest Plantation Corporation, Trichy 620 101, India
Department of Forests, Working Plan Circle, Trichy 620 020, India
Survey of Medicinal Plant Unit – Siddha (Govt. of India), Tirunelveli 627 002, India
Eugenia singampattiana Beddome is one of the endemic
endemism, Eugenia singampattiana, evergreen forest.
singampattiana Beddome (Myrtaceae), locally
known as ‘Korandi’ by Kanni tribes in Tirunelveli district,
Tamil Nadu is one of the endemic and threatened tree
species of the southern Western Ghats in Peninsular India
with medicinal value. Lushington
described it as ‘Eugene
is categorized as Endangered or Possibly Extinct by the
Botanical Survey of India
Western Ghats in Peninsular India. Earlier records related to
its natural distribution are few and found only from Singam-
patti and Papanasam hills at Kalakad Mundandurai Tiger
Reserve Forest (KMTR – 17th Tiger Project of India) in
Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu. The species is known from
the two collections made by Beddome from the above-
between 1864 and 1874. It had not been
collection was made by Daniel in 1986 and 1987 from
Papanasam hills near Hope lake
, on the way to Kannikatti from Tulukka mot-
from Ambalam river bank, Inchikuli, Kannikatti and from
Ullar to Inchikuli, respectively
collected the species with flower and ripe
lai Ar and Tulukka mottai along the road (lower side)
leading to Kannikatti from Kariar in September 1999 and
again from the southern side of Hope lake near Bana-
thirtham during February and July 2000 (Figure 1).
again collected various parts of the species and
phytogeographic parameters related to its growth from
places adjacent to the Banathirtham waterfalls, Kariar to
Kannikatti forest rest house, Inchikuli, Pambar and Mallar
river bank during 1999–2001 and assessed the population
of matured trees in the above areas.
Gopalan and Henry
in their book Endemic Plants of
‘Endangered’ based on availability of more than 500 mature
trees of the species in two isolated fragmented popula-
tions. After a comprehensive study of the total population
of the species and considering its narrow zone of endem-
ism in the world, its status is required to be revised as a
plant of ‘Critically Endangered’ order according to the
norms of IUCN Guidelines
Material and methods
the species has been recollected in the watershed of Tam-
braparni, Pambar, Maller, Ullar, around the western,
southern and eastern sides of Hope lake in the western
Ghats area, Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu. For further
studies, locations of fragmented populations were marked
on the Survey of India Maps (1969, 1978)
and then their
GPS (Global Positioning System). Different parts on the
plants, viz. leaf, stem, flower, seeds, bark and wood sample
were collected in addition to the various phytogeographic
parameters, e.g. rock, soil, climatic elements and species
assemblage in which this plant grows.
For confirmation of species, vegetative parts collected
from its endemic zone were compared with the existing
herbarium document available at the Southern Regional
Office, Botanical Survey of India, Coimbatore, Tamil
Nadu. Herbarium of the species collected is deposited in
the Survey of Medicinal Plants Unit, Siddha (Field No.
6925 dated 22 February 2000) under Central Council for
Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli
Soil samples were collected from the places of endemism
of the species and analysed in 2001.
Bark, leaf and roots of the plant were collected during
the field survey and the sample was sent to Foundation
for Revitalization of Local Health Tradition (FRLHT),
ing orange colour fruits with dark green leaves c, Mature seeds.
Bangalore in April 2003 to obtain its phytochemical para-
seed origin and vegetative parts was made at Tirunelveli
after collecting seeds and stem-cuttings. Frequent field
visits were made to the above forest areas during 1999–
2001. Natural regenerations as well as floral composi-
tions and phenological characters of the species were
studied during these field visits. The various primary and
secondary data on phytogeographic parameters were col-
lected during field visits in the locality.
Results and discussions
Various characters of the plant
A small, dense, evergreen tree grows in semi-evergreen
to evergreen forests in the Singampatti hills of southern
Western Ghats. Under favourable situation, it attains a
height of about 6–9 m with 40 cm girth. It has distinct
morphological and silvicultural characters along with
specific properties of medicinal value.
Morphological characters: Bark grey, smooth; branch-
lets ferete. Leaves opposite, simple 6–12
3–8 cm, dark
acute at apex, rounded at base, nerves and intramarginal
nerves prominent; petiole short. Inflorence terminal, racemes.
Flowers white, crowded, actinomorphic, bisexual. Sepals
four, oval–orbicular; petals four, nerved ovate. Bracts and
bracteoles pubescent; calyx tube 3 mm long (Figure 2).
. 1, Flowering and fruiting twig; 2,
ovary; 7, Fruits; 8, Seeds.
Visible Long UV Short UV Anisaldehyde
S. cumini E. singampattiana
Foreign organic matter Nil Nil
Moisture content 8.8 10.2
Total ash (%) 4.97 8.19
Acid insol. ash (%) 0.2650 0.3563
Alcohol sol. ext (%) 14.77 4.08
Water sol. ext (%) 11.89 3.66
Reducing sugars (%) + +
Hydrolizable sugars + +
Phenolics + +
Bark from E. singampattiana are scrapings from a young and immature plant, whereas bark from S. cumini is
from a matured tree. These are the preliminary observations from a single sample. TLC profile shows some com-
mon bands both in the UV light and on spraying with anisaldehyde. +, Present.
and 5.5–6.5 cm circumference). Persistent calyx. Riped
fruit is yellowish-orange to crimson-red with fleshy peri-
carp. Seeds 2–3, planoconvex, 1.5–1.5
1.3 cm stony black.
continues up to end of July and fruiting starts from July
and fruits ripen in September–October.
Silvicultural characters: E. singampattiana is a shade-
bearer, specially during young stage; seedlings and saplings
are found under shade of second and first-storied high
forest. Species is frost-tender in early stages and hardier
later. It is fire and drought-tender. It grows well where soil
moisture is ensured with good drainage. The species is not
readily browsed by cattle.
Like Syzygium cumini (Troups, 1920)¹ ³, E. singampat-
tiana possesses excellent coppicing power. Large number
of shoots are produced, particularly round the periphery
of the cut surface of the stump. Stumps and also branch-
cuttings produce stools as a rule. Figure 3 shows the appear-
ance of pure coppice shoots.
Medicinal properties: Comparative profile of bark of S.
on biochemical tests conducted by Shastry at FRLHT.
The results show that the phytochemical parameters of E.
singampatiana have similar medicinal properties as S.
Natural distribution zone
The species is endemic to the tail end of the southern
Western Ghats, Agasthiyamalai area, Tirunelveli district,
Tamil Nadu of Peninsular India. This has also been reported
by Ramesh and Pascal
Figure 3. E. singampattiana Bedd. A tree near Banathirtham (south-
ern bank of Thamiraparani) showing excellent coppicing power.
and the other from Papanasam hills at an altitudinal
range of 300–900 m.
The species was relocated time to time from almost the
same geographical area of southern, western and eastern
side of Hope lake in KMTR area.
Occurrence of the species is strictly restricted to a nar-
row zone of micro watersheds of Tambraparni river and
its tributaries around Hope lake within the altitudinal
range of 280–900 m, mainly in semi-evergreen forest
type, the upper portion of which merges from wet ever-
green forest and the lower portion joins a moist mixed
deciduous forest types of the Western Ghats. The natural
distribution zone of the species is located between lat.
N to 8
N and between long. 77
lity, while Figure 5 shows the natural distribution zone
with places of endemism. The places of occurrence of the
species reported from time to time are also shown in Fig-
Phytogeographic conditions of the area of
The species could be relocated in the semi-evergreen to
evergreen forest types of KMTR, where the milieu of
various phytogeographic factors has played a key role in its
endemism, growth and also for its present ‘Endangered
status’. A study of this background may help in identifying
its other locations and to take up appropriate measures to
protect the existing populations and also for further
Topographic matrix: The watersheds of Tambraparni and
its tributeris around Hope lake in which the endemic zone
of the species could be noticed is topographically located
on the northeastern aspects of the southern Western Ghats,
having the altitudinal range of 280–900 m. Except the ad-
jacent areas of Hope lake up to 600 m, the remaining areas
have steep slope
The area is drained by river Tambraparni and its tribu-
kosu odai, Karaiar which contribute to the Hope lake
from the west, northwest, south, east, southeast sides res-
pectively (vide Figure 5).
species is located in the transit zone and enjoys both
tropical monsoon rainforest climate (Am) and tropical
wet and dry climate or monsoon savana (Aw), according
to climatic zones classified by W. koppen
reaches of watersheds around the Agasthiswaram and
other peaks like Naga Pothigai, and Aintalai Pothigai, remains
cool and temperature does not fall below 16.2
C in the
Normal mean maximum temperature in these months remains
in the neighborhood of 32.7
C. Its mean monthly temp-
thirtham (300 m) receives 323 cm and Kannikatti (777 m)
330 cm of annual rainfall. The area gets the benefit of
both the southwest and the northeast monsoons. The
southwest monsoon begins in June and continues up to the
end of August with irregular intervals, while the northeast-
ern monsoon is from October to December. The bulk of
rainfall is derived from northeast monsoon. The month-
wise rainfall details of four centres of the locality are
given in Table 2 (1962, 1978)
clayey loam – the argillaceous nature being probably due
to the disintegration of feldspar aided by plentiful supply
standing trees of the species identified from the western,
southern and eastern sides of Hope lake in Singampatti
and Papanasam RFs. These soil samples were analysed at
the Soil Testing Laboratory, Tamil Nadu Agricultural De-
partment, Tirunelveli (see Table 3).
Habitat and ecological situations: The resultant effect
of various phytogeographic conditions, namely topogra-
phy, geology and soil, mixed effect of low latitudinal and
high altitudinal extent, climatic conditions and past
treatment, including biotic pressure has developed typical
transitional forest types between southern tropical wet
evergreen (rain) forest (IA/C4) and Tirunelveli semi-
evergreen forest (2A/C3) of the revised classification of
forest types by Champion and Seth
cally an evergreen species available in this transitional
zone of evergreen forest area to semi-evergreen forest.
Southern tropical wet evergreen forest is a climax type of
rainforest which occurs between 700 and 1500 m through
a series of transitions from moist deciduous to evergreen
Floristic structure, composition and association of the
species: The top canopy or the first layer is extremely
dense, represented by gigantic trees like Artocarpus hir-
Upper dam Karaiyar, Banathirtham Upper Kannikatti
Month 262 m 300 m Tambraparni 777 m
January 19.54 14.7 11.7 29.7
March 6.43 8.1 7.8 6.8
April 11.04 10.6 11.5 12.2
May 11.44 13.4 10.8 21.0
June 19.08 45.4 34.5 62.0
July 13.13 39.0 34.4 50.3
August 6.25 28.5 14.1 27.0
September 7.01 18.6 18.3 26.9
October 24.07 51.4 44.1 50.3
November 34.19 39.2 35.5 50.5
December 18.27 44.2 35.3 –
Total 178.08 322.8 266.0 356.9
Table 3. Results of soil samples* collected from places of endemism
Micronutrient content (in ppm)
Soil Laboratory Texture EC Nitrogen Phosphorus Potash
details no. and colour Lime status pH (ds/m) N P K Zinc Copper Iron Manganese
ES/ 16644 Yellowish No effervescence 4.9 0.04 106 2.0 175 0.03 0.08 5.24 5.64
Sandy clay calcareousness
ES/ 16645 Yellowish No effervescence 6.0 0.06 109 2.0 250 0.15 0.08 6.16 12.86
Banathirtham 2 16668 brown No
Sandy clay calcareousness
ES/ 16646 Yellowish No effervescence 6.6 0.06 104 2.5 215 0.15 0.14 5.33 12.92
Banathirtham 3 16669 brown No
*Soil samples analysed by R. Gandhi, Soil Testing Laboratory, T.N. Agricultural Department, Tirunelveli.
The second layer is composed of shade-loving trees
such as Cinnamomum iners, Nageia wallichianus, Eugenia
mundagam, Garcinia echinocarpa var. monticola, G. tra-
vancorica, Homalium jainii, Isonandra lanceolata,
Kingiodendron pinnatum, Symplocos cochinchinensis
subsp. laurina, Syzygium caryophyllatum and S. jambos.
Below the second layer, innumerable shrubs and small
trees such as Agrostistachys borneensis, A. indica, Antidesma
Semi-evergreen forest type is the major group which is
distributed all around Hope lake, particularly 300–700 m
between wet evergreen forest above and the moist deci-
duous forest below.
These forests are distributed in patches and belts wher-
ever moisture availability is adequate to support a semi-
evergreen forest, but at the same time inadequate for an
evergreen climax formation. In the western side of Kata-
lamalai Estate and in the eastern side of Mallar basin exposed
easily to biotic pressure, moist mixed deciduous forest
type could be noticed.
Plant propagation practices
There is no recorded information on natural regeneration
of the species, but during field study it was noticed that
many natural regenerations were available below the tree
shade near the streams, where the soil has sufficient humus
and moisture content. Artificial reproduction methods were
attempted both from seed origin and by stem cuttings
to orange colour fruits was collected during September and
October (Figure 6). These were kept in a heap under shade for
2–3 days. This helps the pericarp to rot and then pulp is
removed by rubbing and washing in water. The seeds were
dried in shade. The number of fruits and seeds per kg was
found to be ca 440 and 360–870 respectively. The seeds
have a germination capacity of 87% and plant survival of
61%. Seeds appear to have a dormancy period of a few
months. Seeds were collected from fresh, ripened fruits in
the Banathirtham area at the end of September and dib-
bled soon after the removal of pulp at Palayamkottai forest
campus. Germination could be noticed only in January,
indicating that the dormancy period could run for a few
months. About 514 plants were obtained from 1 kg of seeds.
Seed viability could be retained maximum for a period of 7–8
months, after which the endosperm of the seeds gets
dried-up and the seeds lose their germination capacity.
Seedlings of E. singampattiana have been raised for
experimental purposes by sowing seeds in the nursery.
No specific problems were faced during raising of the plant
in the nursery. However, the growth pattern was slow in
the early stages. Raised bed nursery of forest soil with
sufficient leaf litter and humus content helps in better and
early germination, while in ordinary soils the result is not
encouraging. Covering the mother bed with about 1.0–
1.5 cm thick straw gives better results as it provides re-
quired warmth to the seeds. Water is supplied in the morning
Stages of germination; e, Six-month-old seedling.
and evening. When seedlings become 3–4 cm, they are
dibbled in 16
30 cm or 15
25 cm polythene bags. De-
tails of seed weight, germination percentage, etc. are given
in Table 4.
Vegetative propagation: The species is an excellent
coppicer. Keeping this character in mind, ten stump cut-
tings of a small root portion of pencil thickness were kept
in mud pots. All ten stumps started giving shoots within
25 to 30 days. Small stump with root portion were collected
from its habitat and at the time of collection itself, a
handful of local moist soil was kept with the collected
stump to avoid dehydration of the root portion. The stumps
and soil were kept in small bags before they were trans-
planted into the mud pots. The root portion of the stump
was carefully kept in the mud pot. Mixed soil, sand and
green leaf manure (2
1) was tightly packed around the
stump. Then a cylindrical mud pot having a small hole on
the top was kept on the mother mud pot (vide Figure 7).
Water was sparingly sprinkled once in two days through
this hole without opening the cylindrical mud jar. The jar
should not be opened frequently. Keeping an empty mud jar
on the mother pot creates a natural greenhouse effect,
stimulating early and ensured shoot formation. Within
25–30 days new shoots appeared with red-coloured young
leaves. The plant was allowed to continue in such confine-
ment for two months. Then the jar was opened in the evening
and again closed in morning without allowing direct sunlight.
Slowly, the exposure period was extended. This led to the
formation of chlorophyll in the plant, which will change
its colour from red to light green. After the third month,
plants were kept in shade and normal care was taken. To
produce large number of plants from stump cuttings, mist
chamber methods by Silpaulin sheets can be used econo-
Artificial reproduction methods were attempted both
from seed origin and also by stem cuttings by the authors at
Tirunelveli. About 46 seedlings of seed origin and 9 plants
from stem cuttings were raised as a preliminary experi-
Conservation efforts and methods
The species with narrow endemic zone of distribution is
in imminent danger of extinction. Appropriate conservation
measures are immediately to be taken up to ensure its sur-
vival in the wild by protecting the existing known
population of the species and its rare habitat from further
Measures taken: The species and its habitat get general
protection under various Acts and Rules of Tamil Nadu
Forest Department, as the area comes under Reserved
Forest Category (Papanasam and Singampatti RFs). Further,
this habitat also possesses general protection provisions
No. of seeds Germinative No. of days for Plants
Data source per kg capacity (%) Plant (%) germination per kg
Sarcar et al.
857 84 60 65–85 days 514
Sarcar et al.
556 87 57 70–95 days –
stages; 7, Development of seedling in four months; 8, Mudpot with cylindrical cover (mud pot) on the top
with small hole (for filtered light); 9, Development of coppice shoots from branch cuttings; 10, Young
available under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972,
India). However, species-specific conservation measures
are yet to be taken up.
Measures proposed: (i) As importance is given for pro-
tection of wild fauna under the Wild Life (Protection)
Act, 1972, 2002 in India, similar importance has to be given
to such threatened plants. A specific and comprehensive
Plant Schedule, including this species may be brought
under Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Act 2002 or in
the Biological Diversity Act 2002, so that all the threat-
ened plant species, particularly critical ones get immedi-
ate attention and legal support. (ii) The sole surviving
population of the species in the wild in hilly areas of Sin-
gampatti and Papanasam, Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu
should be accorded full protection by declaring the specific
locality and its vicinity as a ‘plant sanctuary’
range so that more niches, if available, can be identified
and made as plant sanctuaries and protected. (iii) High-
resolution satellite data and GIS can be used to find the
actual ecological parameters of the niches of this species,
so that the controlling elements and favourable habitat
can be taken care of and species-specific zonation maps
can be prepared for intensive care and management.
Similarly, an atlas showing the spatial distribution of
each endemic and threatened plant according to IUCN
has to be prepared to make species-specific
(iv) Efforts should be taken to raise forest nurseries by
collecting mature seeds during September–October. After
getting seedlings of height more than 30–40 cm, they can
be planted in their natural habitat to increase the stock
density of the species as in situ conservation. For ex situ
conservation, healthy seedlings of the species can also be
planted in other parts of the Western Ghats having similar
phytogeographic and ecological conditions. (v) Efforts to
raise stocks artificially through application of tissue culture
techniques and vegetative propagation by stem/root cuttings
should also be attempted.
during 1864–74. Subsequently, after more than
112 years, this species was recollected and reported.
However, these efforts were mainly taxonomic exercises,
except a brief report by the Botanical Survey of India
and by Gopalan and Henry
on different facets
The present study attempted to focus on species-
specific information like field identification characters,
maps of the natural distribution zone in addition to the
phytogeographic parameters and ecological conditions un-
der which this plant grows. Further, species recovery plan,
with plant propagation practices, including photographs
and line diagrams are provided. Besides, conservation
measures to be taken up for this plant have also been rec-
ommended for the natural resources managers to make spe-
cific programmes for further stock improvement of the
species. Thus, the comprehensive report about this criti-
cally endangered species may be used as an effective tool
for implementation in the field.
However, all the scientific and technical information
can only be effectively implemented when protection and
management of such natural resources is supported by the
required regulations, institutional mechanism and strong
legislation in the country.
In this context it is relevant to mention here that we
have the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and Wildlife
(Protection) Amendment Act 2002, under which only six
plants received such protection (under Schedule VI), while
many species of wild fauna including insects and beetles
are listed as protected species (Schedule I–V). Besides,
there is a list of 28 plants (including the abovementioned
six plants) which the Ministry of Trade and Commerce
prohibits trade under CITES. Further, in the Biological
Diversity Act 2002, there is no special protection provision
for imperilled plants, except one section which speaks
only about empowerment of the Central Government to notify
any plant species as threatened and make regulations on the
7 to 10% of plants
suffer from various degrees of threat in
guideline in this sector of plant protection, except for six
plants. In the absence of such legal acts or policies for
flora, illegally collected plants from the KMTR or Re-
served Forests could neither be identified (physically or
by biochemical tests in a forensic laboratory due to lack
of skill, expertise and policies) nor booked outside the
forest boundary under any offence, as it is not legally
supported by court of law. Hence, scheduling of the
threatened plants community should separately to be taken
up with equal strength like fauna, since according to Raven
may be either extinct or on their way to extinction within
25 years, the great majority of the species present now are
likely to be extinct within a century if proper conservation
efforts are not in place in time.’
Thus the natural resource managers, administrators and
legislators should re-look into the existing policy frame-
work, management strategies and make a comprehensive
species-specific recovery plan for all the imperilled plant
resources of the country to protect them for the present
and future heritage of mankind.
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1987, 1, 209–210, p. 367.
3. Beddome, R. H., Plant. Ind. Orient., 1868–74, 65, 273.
4. Brandis, D., Indian Trees, Jayyed Press, Delhi, 1906 (repr. 1978),
vol. 326, p. 767.
5. Duthie, J. F., Myrtaceae. In Flora of British India (ed. Hooker, J.
D.), Reeve, 1879, vol. 2, p. 506.
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(eds Jain, S. K. and Sastry, A. R. K.), 1983, vol. 4, p. 27.
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Reserve (KMTR), Tirunelveli, 1999.
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parameters of Eugenia singampattina in Papanasam and Singam-
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36, p. 70.
18. Lasrado, E. A. and Wilson, C. C., Working Plan for the Tinnelveli
vol. 235, pp. 3–4.
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Government Press, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, 1968, vol.
464, pp. 57–71; 87.
20. Sarcar, M. K. and Sarcar, A. B., Status, botanical description,
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We thank Dr V. K. Melkani, the then
Field Director, and Shri Shivasankar, Range Officer and Field Staff,
Mundanthurai Range for timely co-operation during field visits. We
acknowledge the help rendered by Kanni tribals in the project area. We
also thank Dr R. Gopalan, Scientist, BSI, Coimbatore and Dr S. B. S.
Dutta, Scientist, NRSA, Hyderabad for valuable suggestions. We are
grateful to Shri J. C. Kala, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,
Chennai and Shri T. S. Srinivasa Murthy, Conservator of Forests,
Chennai for encouragement.
Received 2 June 2005; revised accepted 19 April 2006