Buchanania Lanzan: a species of enormous potentials

Author : Mahtab Zakira Siddiqui, Arnab Roy Chowdhury, Niranjan Prasad and Moni Thomas

Buchanania lanzan Spreng, commonly known as char, achar and chironji, belongs to family Anacardiaceae. It was first described by Francis Hamilton in 1798. The tree is natural wild growth in the tropical deciduous forests of Northern, Western and Central India, mostly in the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and in Varanasi and Mirzapur districts of Uttar Pradesh. Besides India, the plant is also found in other tropical Asian countries, Australia and Pacific islands. Tree can be identified by dark grey crocodile bark with red blaze and is a good species for afforestation in bare hill slopes. Traditional indigenous knowledge reveals the immense value of almost all parts of the plant i.e. roots, leaves, fruits, seeds and gum for various medicinal uses. Buchanania lanzan, being a vulnerable medicinal plant, is included in the Red Data Book published by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). This species has high socio-economic value providing livelihood to tribal population of the area and has high potential as commercial horticulture species. Unfortunately due to over-exploitation and indiscriminate harvesting (lopping and cutting), leading to very severe threat to its extinction, which call for an urgent conservation efforts at all levels. The production of this economically important forest tree species is further threatened by insect pests also. In this background, there is compelling need for developing a suitable technology facilitating easy multiplication, regeneration and conservation of the species, simultaneously imparting and disseminating proper knowledge and education to the tribal population.

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