Garcinia morella (Gaertner) Desr.

Garcinia morella (Gaertner) Desr. (GUTTIFERAE)
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Common names
English: Mysore Gamboge tree, Indian Gamboge tree.
 Kannada: Ardala or Hardala, Devanahuli.
Malayalam: Chingiri, Daramba.

Description: Trees, up to 17 m tall with spreading branches and dense crown; branchlets quadrangular; bark brownish-grey or brown to dark brown, exuding brilliant, dark yellow, sticky, thick latex. Leaves elliptic, ovate, obovate or oblanceolate, 10-16x4-9 cm, acute or cuneate at base, obtuse or shortly obtuse-acuminate at apex; lateral veins slender, obliquely parallel; petioles 8-10 mm long. Male flowers ca 3 in axillary, leafy fascicles or on old wood, faintly fragrant. Sepals 4, greenish white. Petals 4, white to pink. Stamens numerous (25-40) in a central, subglobose mass; anthers red. Rudimentary pistil absent. Female flowers solitary, axillary, equal to or larger than male flowers. Sepals persistent. Staminodes 10-12, connate at base into a ring round the ovary. Ovary 4-locular; stigmas yellow, turning brown-red, persistent. Fruit a berry, subglobose or globose, 2-3 cm across, smooth, sessile, yellowish, contains yellow gamboges; pulp sweet, acidic. Seeds 4, kidney-shaped, dark brown, muricate. 

Flowering & Fruiting: November-July, fruits persist till December
Distribution: India: In evergreen, moist and dry deciduous forests from plains up to 1000 m.  North-east India and Western Ghats.  Meghalaya, Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Malacca.

Uses: The seed oil or ‘butter’ is used in cooking and confectionery, as a substitute for ghee, and in candle making. Wood greyish yellow, very hard, used for cabinet work and temporary structures. It yields a beautiful pigment after attaining 20 years of age. This is the indigenous source of ‘gamboge’ The pigment is used in preparing water colours and golden-coloured spirit varnishes for metals and for dyeing silk fabrics. A golden yellow ink is also made for writing on black paper.The fruit rind is used in tanning. Gum-resin anthelmintic, hydragogue, cathartic, used in dropsy, splenic disorders, pain, wounds, amenorrhoea, obstinate constipation and cerebral congestion when rapid lowering of blood pressure is desired.