Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Garcinia indica (Thouars) Choisy in DC., Prodr. 1: 561. 1824. T. Anderson in Fl. Brit. India 1: 261. 1874. Brindonia indica Thouars in Diet. Sci. Nat. 5: 340. 1804. G. purpurea Roxb., Fl. Ind. 2: 624. 1832. Stalagmitis indica G. Don, Gen. Hist. 1: 621. 1831. Stalagmitis purpurea G. Don, Gen. Hist. 1: 621. 1831.

Guj.: Kokan; Goa.: Brindall; Hindi: Kokam or Kokam; Kan.: Murgala or Murgal, Muringa-hulimara; Mar.: Amsol Bhinda, Bhirand or Bhiran, Katambi, Kokam, Kokambi, Ratamba; Tam.: Murgali; Eng.: Mangosteen, Wild mangosteen, Red mango, The Kokam butter tree, The Mangosteen oil tree, The Brindonia tallow tree, Indian gamboge, Tomato plant (as called in Khandala); Port.: Brindon, Brindeos.

Graceful, slender trees, usually up to 10 m tall, sometimes up to 15 m, with conical crown, usually buttressed at base; trunk blackish; wood greyish-white, hard; bark light brown, very thin, smooth, rather shiny; branches often drooping, young ones subterete, slender, irregularly striate. Leaves 6.5 - 11 x 1.5 - 5 cm, lanceolate or obovate-oblong, contracted into petiole at base, acute or acuminate at apex, margin membranous, shiny, dark green; lateral veins 7 - 18, slender, promient; petioles 5 - 12 mm long, slender; young leaves red, beautiful. Male flowers: Small, white; buds as large as a pea, almost globose; pedicels stout, gradually thickened upwards, up to 4 mm long; bracts scale-like, caducous. Sepals 4, decussate, outer pair smaller, 3 - 4.5 mm long, inner pair 4.5 - 5 mm long, ovate-rotundate, base narrow, thick, fleshy, yellowish to pinkish orange. Petals 4,5 - 6 mm long, thick. Stamens inserted on a hemispheric subquadrate torus; filaments short; anthers oblong, bilocular, truncate. Rudimentary pistil absent or if present as long as stamens. Female flowers: Terminal, shortly peduncled; pedicels short, ca 3 mm long, stout. Sepals and petals similar to male flowers. Staminodes 1 - 3 mm long; filaments short, very thick. Ovary subglobose, 4 - 8 -loculed; stigmas convex, coronate, sessile, rays as many as locules, often 2-seriate. Berries almost spherical, not furrowed, 4 - 8 -loculed, purple, orange-pink or wine brown, surrounded at base by persistent sepals; pulp red, acidic, fleshy. Seeds 5 - 8, compressed.

Fl. & Fr. Nov. - Aug.

Distrib. India: In tropical evergreen forests of Western Ghats: Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala(rare); often planted in southern Maharashtra, Nilgiris and Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah.


Introduced in France, Bourbon and Mauritius.

Notes. The seeds yield valuable fat known as\'Kokum butter\'. It is used as an edible fat, for adulterating ghee, in manufacture of soap and candles. It is also suitable for ointments, suppositories and other pharmaceutical purposes, as a remedy in pthisis-pulmonalis, scrofulous diseases, dysentery, mucous diarrhoea and externally for excoriations, chaps, fissures of lips and as a substitute for spermaceti. The acidic fruit juice is used by blacksmiths for melting iron. The dried outer fruit rind is used as Kokam in Konkcan area of Maharashtra as a garnish to give an acid flavour to curries and also for preparing syrups during hot months; sometimes exported to Zanzibar. The ripe fruit is edible, is anthelmintic and cardiotonic. The wood is well suited for paper pulp.

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