Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Santalum album L., Sp. Pl. 349. 1753; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 231. 1886.

Hindi: Chandan, Safed-chandan; Kan: Chandanum, Gundada, Srigandha; Kon.: Chamdan; Mal.: Chandanam, Gandharajan; Mar.: Chandan; Tam.: Akkam, Anukkam, Chandanam, Sandanam, Sandana-maram, Srigandam; Tel.: Chandanam; Sans.: Chandana; Urdu: Sandal.

Evergreen trees, up to 4 m high, glabrous; branches slender, dark brown to black. Leaves elliptic-ovate to ovate-lanceolate, cuneate, acute, rounded or obtuse at base, acute to subacute at apex, 3 – 7 x 1.5 – 4 cm, membranous, glabrous, glaucous beneath; lateral nerves 5 or 6 pairs, indistinct; petioles 1 - 2 cm long. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, in trichotomous paniculate cymes, ca 5 cm long. Flowers: 4 - 5 mm across, brownish purple, reddish or straw-coloured; pedicels opposite, 1 – 1.5 mm long; perianth-lobes broadly triangular, ca 1.5 mm long; stamens 4 or 5,; filaments short, inserted at the mouth of perianth-tube; anthers ovoid, with distinct parallel thecae; ovary at first free, later semi-inferior, 1-loculed; stigma 3-lobed. Fruits subglobose or obovoid, ca 1 x 0.8 cm, smooth, black when ripe with juicy flesh, crowned by the base of the deciduous perianth; seeds subglobose.

Fl. & Fr. Feb. – July.

Distrib. India: Predominantly in tropical deciduous and moist semi-deciduous forests of Peninsular India, south of Vindhya Mountains, ascending to 1500 m altitude. Parts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Sri Lanka.

Uses. Heartwood is strongly scented and is in great demand for the oil and for carvings. The roots and stems contain the volatile oil with the principal component Santalol, occurring in two isomer forms, the alpha-santalol and beta-santalol. The oil extracted from the heartwood is commercially called Sandal-wood oil, and is very aromatic and highly valuable in perfume industry. Sandal-wood powder with honey and rice water is given in diarrhoea. Sandal-wood paste cools the body where it is applied, reducing any burning sensation. The paste applied to the forehead of a patient with high fever, produces cooling effect. It also acts as an antiseptic. The paste with turmeric paste reduces pimples on face.

Notes. Chromosome number: n = 10, 20, 40 (Virendrakumar & Subramanyam, Chromosome atlas of flowering plants of the Indian subcontinent, Vol. 1. Dicotyledons. 1986).

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