Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 719-22. 2008.
Utilization of Poecilineron pauciflorum
Bedd. by the Kani Tribes of Agasthiamalai,
Ghanthi Kumar, S. and Manickam, V.S.
Centre for Biodiversity and Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous),
Palayamkottai-627 002, Tamil Nadu, India
This paper presents the kani tribal uses of an endemic plant species, Poecilineuron pauciflorum.Bedd.
(Family Cluciaceae). The kani tribals use it for the treatment of Mendel
disorder and infectious diseases, and for exorcism activities. The
information presented here was collected from the Kani community at Karaiyar,
Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) forest, south
Key Words: Kanis, Agathiyamalai, Poecilineron pauciflorum,
Biodiversity is not uniformly distributed on the surface of the Planet Earth. Nearly two thirds of the world biological resources are locked up; may be in virgin state, in the developing countries of the tropics which are gene rich but economically poor and technologically weak. The people of these countries are burdened with problems of illiteracy, debt; food shortages, malnutrition, housing, rural sanitation; population explosion & pollution. The ever increasing population, material needs and rising standard of hiring in these countries have serious negative impact on local biodiversity and consequently the continued availability of biological resources for further generation is doubtful.
The world of herbal medicine
encompasses aspect of modern western medicinal
and pharmaceutical practice, ancient and modern belief systems, biology,
chemistry and Agriculture. Pharmaceutical industries are interested in
finding and exploitation the benefits of natural product. Many people are
interested in using a normal approach to treating their ailments. Poecilineron pauciflorum is an endemic
tree species; belonging to the family Clusiaceae. It is an economically
important timber yielding tree endemic to Travancore, Tirunelveli and
The plant parts were employed as a kani tribal medicine and were used for the treatment of active infectious diseases. Phytochemical studies of P. pauciflorum barks were several xanthones. such as (1,6-dihydroxy-7-methoxyxanthone and 1,6-dihydroxy-7-methoxyxanthone 6-O--d-glucoside) in addition to 12 known compounds (1,5-dihydroxy-, 1,5-dihydroxy-3-methoxy-,1,7-dihydroxy-, 1-hydroxy-7-methoxy-, 2-methoxy-, 4-methoxy-, 1,4,5-trihydroxy-, 1,3,5-trihydroxy-, 1,3,6-trihydroxy-7-methoxy-, 1,3,7-trihydroxy-, 3-hydroxy-2-methoxyxanthone and ()-epicatechin) were isolated from the barks of Poeciloneuron pauciflorum ( Tosa et al. 1997). The kani tribal Poeciloneuron pauciflorum plant was collected from Inchikuzhi and kannikatty area of Agathiyamalai.
Agathiyamalai is of a total area of about
2000 sq.km. This region represents the best example of tropical forest in
Trees up to 15 m high, clear bole bark grayish. Leaves with petiole, petiole up to 1.5 cm long, rough, channeled; lamina coriaceous, oblong, up to 12 x 4 cm, rounded or acute at base, entire along the margin, bluntly acuminate at apex. Flowers solitary or paired in the axils of the fallen leaves, pedicel late, pedicels up to 2.5 cm long, glabrous, green in colour; sepals 4, ovate, the outer two ca 2.5 x 3 mm, the inner two up to 8 x 3 mm, apically obtuse, green, puberulous; petals ovate, ca 0.3 x 0.2 cm, apically obtuse, white, pubescent within; stamens 16-22, ca. 0.6 cm long. Ovary ca. 0.2 cm. Fruit globose, up to 2 x 1.7 cm. Local name- Poothang khali.
Southern parts of
The kanies, the plant materials collected
from the region of Inchikuzhi and kannikatty, agasthiyamalai,
Plate 1. Illustrations of P. pauciflorum: A and B. Inchikuzhi population with mature tree and saplings; C. Kannikatty population with mature tree; D and E. Twig and flower; F. Immature fruiting twigg; G. Seed; and H. Mature fruit.
The tribals and rural peoples use a variety of species from the forested as well as non forested pockets of the study area. The comparative study of relevant and recent literature revealed medicinal uses. In the present paper Poecilineuron pauciflorum.Bedd. (Family Cluciaceae) the kani tribals use it for the purpose of infectious diseases, Mendel disorder and exorcism activities.
As we have seen, ethnobotany as a field is on the rise. However, it is still the laboratory-based molecular biologists whose work centers in the laboratory that garnishes more status and funding. Field ethno botanists have not yet received the same level of support and respect, primarily because interest in this field has only just reemerged. Yet, the field is growing. New scientific journals and societies have begun to disseminate the studies of the ethno botanists to peers, other scientists, and policy makers worldwide. The 1990’s are an exciting time to be an ethno botanist. Ethno botany issues are the focus of much public attention. Due to increased public interest and policy making in conservation, companies are looking to plants for new approaches to food, medicines, and energy sources. University departments are opening positions for interdisciplinary-trained ethno botanists. The future looks promising for these dedicated scientists in a fascinating and vital field of research.
authors are thankful to the Department of Biotechnology,
NAYAR, 1996. Hotspot of endemic
TOSA, HIDEKI, IINUMA, MUNEKAZU, MURAKAMI, KOH-ICHI, ITO, TETSURO, TANAKA, TOSHIYUKI, CHELLADURAI, VELIAH, RISWAN, SOEDARSONO, 1997. New xanthone from Poeciloneruon pauciflorum Bedd. Phytochemistry 45(1):133-136.