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Useful Tropical Plants

Gymnocladus assamicus

P.C.Kanjilal

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Gymnocladus assamicus is a deciduous tree growing up to 17 metres tall.
The tree is an important source of soap for the local people and it is commonly harvested from the wild. The tree also provides medicines and food. There are moves underway to cultivate the tree, especially as a source of soap[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
Gymnocladus assamicus is under threat in the wild due to a variety of reasons including: overharvesting of the mature pods for domestic use; grazing; predation of seeds by scatter-hoarding animals; fungal damage to the seeds; separate male and hermaphrodite trees; a lack of seed dispersal; and a hard-waxy seed coat that restricts germination. In addition, the habitat of the species is continuously declining due to road construction, agricultural expansion and human settlements. The wild population is inferred to have declined by more than 80% over the three generations (84 years). The plant is classified as 'Critically Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

Excessive eating of the seeds can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The seeds and seedpods are rich in saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References


Range

E. Asia - northeast India (Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland).

Habitat

Grows along hill slopes and along the banks of streams, in moist soils that are rich in organic materials; at elevations from 1,200 - 2,050 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height15.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Gymnocladus assamicus is native to moderate elevations in northeast India and can occasionally experience light frosts. However, the climate is basically subtropical with a short cool period but most of the year it is very warm to hot. The mean average rainfall in at least part of its range is 1,750 - 2,030mm, most of it falling in the growing season[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Trees take around 28 years from seed before they begin to produce seed[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Trees can bear eith male or hermaphrodite flowers[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. In many species that do this, some or all of the hermaphrodite flowers are functionally female, but we have not found any confirmation of this in the literature. It is probably best, if cultivating the plant, to try and grow both male and hermaphrodite forms[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked[
1478
Title
In depth chemical investigation of Glycyrrhiza triphylla Fisch roots guided by a preliminary HPLC-ESIMS n profiling
Publication
Food Chemistry January 2018
Author
Abolfazl Shakeri et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.12.031
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. They are roasted and then eaten in the same ways as groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea)[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
1481
Title
Antioxidant activity of different parts of Lysimachia laxa and Gymnocladus assamicus, a comparison using three diffe
Publication
J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2013, 5(4):33-40
Author
Sanjoy Gupta, Soneswar Sarma, A.A. Mao & Tapan Seal
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-7384
Description
 
]. Excessive eating of the seeds can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The seedpods are 10 - 16cm long and 2 - 4cm wide, containing 4 - 8 obovoid to subglobose seeds 15 - 20mm long and 12 - 16mm wide with extremely hard seedcoats[
1483
Title
Minangmose (Gymnocladus assamicus) and Dekang (Gymnocladus Burmanicus): Culturally important and endangered trees of
Publication
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 9(3), July 2010, pp 419-429
Author
Singh R.K.; Srivastava R.C.; Adi tribe; Monpa tribe; Khasi t
Publisher
 
Year
2010
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The aroma is similar to coffee, but there is no caffeine[
1481
Title
Antioxidant activity of different parts of Lysimachia laxa and Gymnocladus assamicus, a comparison using three diffe
Publication
J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2013, 5(4):33-40
Author
Sanjoy Gupta, Soneswar Sarma, A.A. Mao & Tapan Seal
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-7384
Description
 
].

Medicinal

The seedpods, especially the fleshy layer inside, is rich in saponins and is used externally to treat skin problems including eczema and acne. The crushed pods are soaked in water, the water is then used as a disinfectant wash for cleaning wounds[
1483
Title
Minangmose (Gymnocladus assamicus) and Dekang (Gymnocladus Burmanicus): Culturally important and endangered trees of
Publication
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 9(3), July 2010, pp 419-429
Author
Singh R.K.; Srivastava R.C.; Adi tribe; Monpa tribe; Khasi t
Publisher
 
Year
2010
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
It is also used as a wash to remove dandruff and to rid the body of leeches, especially those on cattle and yak[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
1481
Title
Antioxidant activity of different parts of Lysimachia laxa and Gymnocladus assamicus, a comparison using three diffe
Publication
J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2013, 5(4):33-40
Author
Sanjoy Gupta, Soneswar Sarma, A.A. Mao & Tapan Seal
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-7384
Description
 
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The dry, green leaves are used as a manure and mulch - it is believed that this reduces insect pests in vegeable crops[
1483
Title
Minangmose (Gymnocladus assamicus) and Dekang (Gymnocladus Burmanicus): Culturally important and endangered trees of
Publication
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 9(3), July 2010, pp 419-429
Author
Singh R.K.; Srivastava R.C.; Adi tribe; Monpa tribe; Khasi t
Publisher
 
Year
2010
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Other Uses

The fleshy layer inside the seedpods is rich in saponinss and is commonly used locally as an effective alternative for soap[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
1481
Title
Antioxidant activity of different parts of Lysimachia laxa and Gymnocladus assamicus, a comparison using three diffe
Publication
J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2013, 5(4):33-40
Author
Sanjoy Gupta, Soneswar Sarma, A.A. Mao & Tapan Seal
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-7384
Description
 
]. It has a very gentle effect upon the skin, and does not sting if it gets in the eyes, and so is often used to wash babies[
1483
Title
Minangmose (Gymnocladus assamicus) and Dekang (Gymnocladus Burmanicus): Culturally important and endangered trees of
Publication
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 9(3), July 2010, pp 419-429
Author
Singh R.K.; Srivastava R.C.; Adi tribe; Monpa tribe; Khasi t
Publisher
 
Year
2010
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The soap is an efficient cleaner, effective against a wide range of strong fats, oils and other complex grimes as well as for washing the hair and clothes[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The pods are harvested when mature and can be stored for later use[
1480
Title
Gymnocladus assamicus Kanjilal ex P.C.Kanjilal fruit - A soap substitute
Publication
Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(5), 2007, pp 427-429
Author
Choudhury B.I.; Khan M.L.; Arunachalam A.; Arunachalam K.
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Propagation

The seeds of this species can be very slow to germinate and benefit from scarification before sowing in order to soften the seedcoat and speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-05-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Gymnocladus+assamicus>

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