Dillenia indica

Dillenia indica L. (Dilleniaceae)

(2n = 54, 56)

Syn : Dillenia speciosa Thunb.

English name: Dillenia.

Sanskrit names: Bhavya, Bharija.

Vernacular names: Asm : Chalita, Qutenga; Ben: Chalta; Guj : Karambel; Hin : Chalta; Kan :Betta kanijala; Mar: Mota karmal; Mal: Chalita, Punna; Man: Heigri; Ori : Qu, Uvu; San: Korbhatta; Tam and Tel: Uva.

Trade name: Chalta.

Traditional use: MANIPURI : Fruit decoction: for curing dandruff and checking falling of hairs; MIKIR (Assam) : Fruit: eat to combat weakness; TRIBES OFTEJPUR (Assam) : Plant: in fever; TRIBES OF TlRAP (Arunachal Pradesh) : Leaf: in dysentery; SANTAL : (i) Root: as prophylactic at the cholera season, an ingredient of a medicine for burning sensation in the chest; (ii) Stem-bark: component of medicine for sores caused by mercury poisoning, chronic progredient sores and carbuncle, and as a prophylactic at the cholera season; (iii) Mucilage: on wounds of burns; TRIBES OF ABUJH MARH RESERVE AREA (Madhya Pradesh) : Fruit: as tonic; TRIBES OF EAST GODAVARI (Andhra Pradesh) : Fleshy calyx: in stomach disorders.

YAJURVEDA : an important plant; UPAVARHANA SAMHITA : the plant is aphrodisiac and prpmotes virility; CHARAKA SAMHITA : the fruit is sweet, acidic, astringent, removes bile, phlegm, fetid and flatulence; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : fruit cardiotonic, tasteful, astringent, acidic, removes bile, phlegm, fetid and flatulence; RAJANIGHANTU: green fruit is acidic, pungent, hot, removes wind, phlegm, but the ripe fruit is sweet, sour, appetising and beneficial in colic associated with mucous; MATSYA PURANA : decoction of this plant can be used as universal antidote for poison; AGNI PURANA : spraying water, containing stem extract, on and around the wound caused by spider bite helps in removing the poison.

AYURVEDA: (i) Root (bark extrac_: in food poisoning; (ii) Root-bark(paste): along with leaf­paste applied externally in sprains; (iii) Young bark and Leaf: astringent; (iv) Fruit-juice : mixed with sugar and water serves as a cooling beverage in fever, fit, and as a cough syrup; (v) Ripe fruit-juice: removes flatulence, increases quantity of semen, galactogogue, combats weakness, external application helps supuration of boil, and checks loss of hair. Modern use: Leaf (50% EtOH extract) : shows antiamphetamine activity; Seed-extract: antimicrobial; Seed-oil: antifungal, and its unsaponifiable matter antibacterial.

Phytography : Evergreen, round-headed tree, 9-42.5 m high; branchlets tomentose, bark cinnamomum-like; leaf alternate, simple, fascicled at the apices of branches, petiole 3.7 cm long, lamina 20-25 cm by 5-10 cm, oblong-Ianceolate, closely set parallel veins from midrib, upper surface glabrous, hairs present on the lower surface, especially on veins; flower terminal or leaf-opposed, solitary, white, 15 cm in diameter, sepals thick; fruit globose with accrescent calyx, 12.5-15 cm in diameter, green when young, yellowish and sweet-scented when ripe; seeds many, compressed, embedded in hairy cells.

Phenology: Flowering: May-June; Fruiting: July-August. - ripens in November­December.

Distribution: Sub-Himalayan tract from Garhwal to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Central and South India; Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.

Ecology and cultivation: Plant of tropical forest; occasionally grown in gardens.

Chemical contents: Stem-bark: betulin, betulinaldehyde, betulic acid, flavonoids, dillentin, dihydroisorhamnetin, lupeol, myricetin, glucosides, B-sitosterol; Wood: betulinic acid, lupeol, β-sitosterol; Leaf: betulinic acid, cycloartenone, flavonoids, n-hentriacontanol, B­sitosterol; Fruit: an arabinogalactan, betulinic acid, β-sitosterol.

Remark: Green calyx is eaten in various forms of pickles.