Herbs & Plants

Heritiera fomes

Botanical Name: Heritiera fomes
Family: Malvaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales
Genus: Heritiera
Species: H. fomes

Synonyms: Heritiera minor Roxb.

Common Names: Sundari,Sunder, Jekanazo and Pinlekanazo.

Heritiera fomes is native to coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific, its range extending from the east coast of India through Bangladesh and Malaysia to Myanmar and Thailand. Compared to other species of mangrove, it grows in less saline environments and on drier ground that gets inundated by the tide only infrequently. It thrives on clayey soils and is the dominant species in these habitats, typically growing on the low banks that form around the edges of saucer-shaped, newly emerged islands. It is the dominant mangrove species in the area and its local name, sundari, gives the Sundarbans region its name.

Heritiera fomes is a medium-sized evergreen tree growing to a height of 15 to 25 metres (49 to 82 ft). The roots are shallow and spreading and send up pneumatophores. The trunk develops buttresses and is grey with vertically fissured bark. Trees with girths of 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) used to be found but these large trees have mostly been harvested for their timber. The trunk has few large branches and the canopy is open. The leathery leaves are elliptical and tend to be clustered at the ends of the twigs. The pink or orange bell-shaped flowers are each about 5 mm (0.2 in) across. They form in panicles, each flower being either male or female. The fruit carpels are up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long and 3.8 cm (1.5 in) wide. They ripen between June and August and the seeds germinate readily.


Cultivation: Plants can be fast-growing in low-saline environments.

Propagation: Through seeds.

Edible Uses:
Seed – rich in starch, it is eaten in times of food shortage. The seed contains tannins and is very astringent unless these are first removed by leeching the seeds in cold water.
Two common methods around the world for removing tannins are:-
A quick method of removing them is to cook the seeds in several changes of water until the cook water is either free of bitterness, or the bitterness has been reduced to acceptable levels.
A more traditional, and slower, method is to leach the tannins by thoroughly washing the seed in running water, though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used, or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannins have been leached sufficiently.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant has applications in traditional folk medicine as evidenced by its extensive use for treating diabetes, hepatic disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, goiter, and skin diseases by the local people and traditional health practitioners.

The bark of H. fomes is rich in procyanidins. The ethanol extract has been shown to have antioxidant properties. It also shows antimicrobial activities against Kocuria rhizophila, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and is non-toxic in brine shrimp toxicity tests.

Other Uses:
Timber produced from Heritiera fomes is hard, fine-grained, tough and elastic. The heartwood is dark red or reddish brown and the sapwood is a paler reddish brown. The timber has many uses; in bridge building, house construction, boat building and joinery, as utility poles and tool handles, making hardboard and is used for construction..The wood is a good source of fuel, and makes a good quality charcoal. The tree is grown commercially in plantations.
Tannins are obtained from the bark and seed.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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