~ 178 ~
JPP 2014; 3 (1): 178-182
Forest Ecology and Biodiversity
Kerala Forest Research Institute,
Peechi 680 653, Kerala, India
Eugenia singampattiana Beddome is an important medicinal plant commonly known as Jungle Guava,
restricted to Agasthyamalai phyto-geographical region, in Southern Western Ghats. This species is
commonly used in the treatment of asthma, giddiness, body pain, rheumatism and also good source of
alkaloids, coumarins and catechins. Due to habitat loss and over exploitation, natural population of the
species is depleting at an alarming rate and is already enlisted as critically endangered by IUCN. The
present review is focused on distribution, population status, silvicultural aspects and medicinal importance
of Eugenia singampattiana. Since the species is having high utilization potential with restricted
distribution, large scale restoration and in situ conservation at species level is an urgent need.
“Kaattukorandi” (Tamil, Tamil Nadu) is a critically endangered small evergreen medicinal tree
(Fig. 1), found at the tail end of Southern Western Ghats regions of Tamil Nadu
[1, 18, 24, 27, 28, 33,
Lushington called this plant as ‘Eugene Myrtle Singampatty hills in Tinnelvelly’; the present
[13, 27, 30, 32, 33, 44]
is the type locality of this
traditional knowledge on the species. After the type collection by Beddome between 1864 and
the plant was rediscovered in 1986 and 1987 by Daniel from Papanasam hills near
~ 179 ~
This species is categorized as endangered or possibly extinct by
. Subsequently this species was
located in Checkkalamoode, on the way to Kannikatti from
and river bank, Inchikuli, Kannikatti and from
Ullar to Inchikuli
. Sarcar et al.,
conducted a detailed
inventory of this species as a part of developing strategies for the
restoration of this species and he could collect the species with
flower and ripe fruits on the western side of Hope lake between
Kavathalai Ar and Tulukka mottai along the road (lower side)
leading to Kannikatti from Kariar in September 1999 and again
from the southern side of Hope lake near Banathirtham during
February and July 2000. Sarcar
have also collected various parts
of the species and analysed phytogeographic parameters related to
growth from places adjacent to the Banathirtham waterfalls, Kariar
to Kannikatti forest rest house, Inchikuli, Pambar and Mallar river
bank during 1999–2001.
In 2013, IUCN enlisted this species as
suspected population size reduction of ≥90% over the last 10 years
or three generations, whichever is the longer, where the causes of
the reduction are clearly reversible based on a decline in area of
occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat.
Ecologically this species prefers evergreen forest area to semi-
evergreen forest areas between 700 and 1500 m through a series of
transitions from moist deciduous to evergreen form
Class : Magnoliopsida
Species : Eugenia singampattiana Bedd.
Dense small evergreen tree, branchlets terete, glabrous, 6-9 m
height; bark grey or brownish coloured, smooth, soft, ferrate;
leaves opposite, decussate, dark green above, light beneath, 5-
12×2.5-8 cm, ovate or elliptic-oblong, nerves 13-15 pairs, nerves
and intra-marginal nerve prominent, mid-nerve prominent below,
glabrous, base cordate or rounded at base, margin entire, obtuse or
acuminate at apex; petiole very short. Inflorescence moderate sized
cymes, terminal; bracteoles 2, cymes terminal in short racemes;
bracts and bracteoles pubescent, 0.8-1 cm long; pedicels 1 cm long.
Flowers bisexual, white, usually persistent, calyx tube nearly
globose, sepals 4, oval-orbicular, not produced beyond the ovary,
the limb of 4 or 5, persistent lobes, stamens disc broad or absent,
calyx tube 3 mm long, lobes 4, sub-orbicular, persistent. Petals 4,
bracts and bracteoles pubescent, distinct, glandular, 12 mm long,
ovate, inconspicuously dotted and prominently nerved, disc small,
stamens numerous, distinct, erect or incurved; filaments 1-1.5 mm
long, 2-celled ovary, subglobose, numerous ovules, the cells often
again divided by the false partitions, style 8 mm long, ovules
several in each cell, stigma simple slender. Fruit berry, spherical or
subglobose to globose, 1.5–1.75 cm diameter, yellowish orange-
crimson red coloured. Seeds planoconvex, 1.5-1.5×1.3 cm stony
black, thick cotyledons.
Flowering & Fruiting: February- October.
This tree is endemic to the tail end of Southern Western Ghats of
[28, 45, 48]
. Beddome described this species during
1864-1874 from Singampatti Hills
of Tamil Nadu and Daniel
collected this species from Papanasam Hills in Tirunelveli.
Rajendran located this species from Chekkalamoodu, Tamil Nadu
. Thereafter, Gopalan collected it from the Ambalam river bank,
Inchikuli, Kannikatti & Ullar, Tamil Nadu
. Sarcar and others
identified distribution zones in Western Hill Lake in between
leading to Kannikatti from Kariar
and places near to
Banathirtham waterfalls, Inchikuli, Pambar & Mallar river bank of
. The distribution range of the species is
located between lat. 8°33′N to 8°42′46″N and between long.
77°17′55″E to 77°21′37″E
(Map 1). Most of natural distribution
points of E. singampattiana are adjacent areas with a narrow
geographic range having small population size and if the existing
habitats are modified this species will be vulnerable to extinction.
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve as “Kattukorandi”; they use this
plant to get relief from toothache, digestive problems, asthma,
giddiness, body pain, rheumatism, gastric complaints and also as
[2, 4, 6, 25, 32, 36, 43, 48, 54, 57]
. A paste prepared from
equal quantities of leaves and flowers are consumed to cure body
pain and throat pain and tender fruits are consumed to relief from
leg sores and rheumatism
[24, 31, 36, 48]
. A paste is being prepared
from equal quantities of stems, leaves and flowers are consumed
with palm sugar to get relief from gastric complaints
[19, 31, 36, 48]
Compounds like flavanol glycosides, polyphenols, ellagic acids,
gallic acids were reported earlier from various species of Eugenia
[16, 29, 35, 37, 38, 51, 55]
and GC-MS analysis of leaves have proved the
presence of eighteen compounds
[16, 29, 35, 37, 38, 51, 55]
. The major
identified compound are 5-Methoxy-2,2,6-trimethyl-1(3-methyl-
buta-1,3-dienyl)-7-oxa-bicyclo heptanes followed by 1,2,3-
Benzenetriol (Pyrogallol), α-caryophyllene, 2-propen-1-one, 1-
(2,6-dihydroxy-4-ethoxyphenyl)3-phenyl, n-Hexadecanoic acid,
trihydroxyphenyl)α- Amyrin (β-amyrin), Squalene and limonene
. The other compounds like alkaloids, coumarins, catechins,
glycosides, flavanoids, phenols, steroids, saponins, tannins,
terpenes, sugars, xanthoproteins, derivatives and fixed oils are also
reported from E. singampattiana
[16, 29, 35, 37, 51, 55]
. Several studies
have proved the significant anti-hyperproteinemia, anti-diabetic,
anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperlipidaemic effects of
. Flavonoids are also reported to regenerate
the damaged pancreatic beta cells
[5, 8, 11]
and phenols have found to
be effective anti-hyperglycemic agents
The increase of antibiotic resistance of microorganism to
conventional drugs has necessitated the search for new efficient
and cost effective ways for the control of infectious diseases, the
result of different studies provide evidence that some medicinal
plants might indeed be a potential source of new antibacterial agent
including this species
[17, 25, 38, 40, 47, 53, 56]
. The antimicrobial activity
of E. singampattiana was evaluated on bacterial and fungal strains
which can be used to discover bioactive natural products that may
serve as leads in the development of new pharmaceuticals for
[9, 10, 12, 20, 22]
. The methanol leaf extract showed
great activity against different types of fungi like Candida
~ 180 ~
7. Antitumor and Anticancer Effect
Several studies in E. floccosa and E. singampattiana exhibit
significant antitumor effects
with compounds like
Octadecadienoic acid, Limonene, Squalene which are anti-
cancerous in nature. Similarly 9-12, Octadecadienoic acid has the
property of anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic as reported earlier
[6, 7, 9, 11]
and limonene has anti-cancerous, anti-tumoral, antibiotic
and anti-protozoal activity
[3, 14, 20, 21, 22, 44]
. Squalene possesses
chemo-preventive activity against colon carcinogenesis
. Further investigations into the pharmacological importance
of E. singampattiana and their diversity and detailed phyto-
chemistry may add new knowledge to the traditional systems of
[11, 12, 38, 49, 50]
Most of the researches available on silviculture aspects of forestry
species in the past were restricted both to common species or
commercially important species and in the case of rare and
threatened species it is extremely scarce or lacking. The
conservation of threatened plants is a great concern because it is
suggested that many as half of the world’s plant species may
qualify as threatened with extinction under the world Conservation
Union (IUCN) classification scheme
. Hence information on
detailed analysis on population structure, range of natural stands,
and standardization of nursery practices especially in the case of
rare plants is a prerequisite for developing effective restoration
grows well where soil moisture is ensured with good drainage. The
species prefers yellowish brown sandy clay soil and soil parameters
related to this species was well studied
. The species is not
readily browsed by livestock and other wild herbivores. Large
numbers of shoots are produced; stumps and also branch cuttings
are used for vegetative propagation. Being a shade bearer during
the seedlings and saplings are found under shade of
second and first-storied high forest and the species is frost-tender in
early stages and hardier later. E. singampattiana reported to have
excellent coppicing power
and number of seeds per kg ranged
from 556 to 857 and germination capacity were 84-87%. However,
quantified information on natural regeneration of this species is not
recorded yet, but much natural regeneration was observed below
the tree shade near the streams
. Artificial reproduction methods
were carried out both from seed origin and by stem cuttings
Since occurrence of this species is strictly restricted to a narrow
required to prevent from the imminent danger of extinction. Most
of the distribution zones of this species are falling within the
protected areas of Tamil Nadu frequent monitoring on regeneration
dynamics and phenological patterns can be done in these sites.
Similarly habitat suitability and identification of ecological niches
is to be done using Ecological niche modelling based on GPS
surveys throughout the distribution area which in turn can
effectively utilized for identifying potential sites for restoration
programmes. The data on seed storage, genetic diversity,
reproductive biology, seed dispersal, insects, and diseases is to be
generated at the earliest for developing appropriate conservation
measures to protect the existing known population of this
E. singampattiana Bedd. is a critically endangered medicinal tree,
endemic to the tail end of Southern Western Ghats, and this species
is highly restricted to evergreen patches of Agasthyamalai hills. It
antimicrobial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antihyperlipidaemic
and antidiabetic agents. The tribal people have enormous
indigenous knowledge on this particular species which is used for
~ 181 ~
food and medicinal purposes effectively. Ex-situ and in-situ
species by protecting the existing natural strands and through
species specific multiplication and restoration programmes.
The authors are grateful to the Director, KFRI for providing all the
facilities and KSCSTE for the financial support.
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