Garcinia gummi-gutta

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Local names:
Danish (gummiguttræ), Dutch (geelhars), English (gamboge,brindal berry), French (mangoustanier du cambodge,gomme-gutte), German (gummiguttbaum), Hindi (upage mara,murugana huli), Japanese (garushinia kanbogia), Trade name (camboge tree)

Garcinia gummi-gutta is an evergreen, small or medium-sized dioecious, understorey tree, 5 –20 m tall, about 70 cm dbh, with a rounded crown and horizontal or drooping branches. The bark is dark and smooth.

Leaves opposite, petiolate, dark green, shining, 13-18 by 4-8 cm, elliptic to obovate, glabrous; petiole 1.2-2.2 cm. 

Flowers in clusters of 4-20, are usually red, but some trees have yellow ones. Petals normally 4, each about 12 mm wide 11 mm long; anthers attached to a pistillode with a non-functional stigma. Female flowers occur singly or in clusters of up to 4. The stigmatic surface is normally enlarged, and there is no style. Pistillate flowers have rudimentary and non-functional staminodes. Neither male nor female flowers produce nectar.

Fruit a green, ovoid berry, 5 cm in diameter, yellow or red when ripe, with 6-8 grooves. 

Seed 6-8, smooth, large, about 5 cm long and 2 cm wide surrounded by a succulent aril.


It is found in semi-evergreen to evergreen forests. In India, it is commonly found in the evergreen and shola forests of Western Ghats, Karnataka and Kerala. The tree is very much adapted to both hilltops and plain lands, but its performance is best in riverbanks and valleys. It also grows well in dry or occasionally water logged or flooded soils.

Native range
India, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Tree management

Land preparation involves preparing 1 m2 pits 10 m apart. Refill the pits with a mixture of topsoil and compost / fertilizer. Proper care should be given to avoid water stagnation in pits. In India, planting is generally done during July-October months: The crop can be raised as a pure or as a perennial intercrop of coconut, arecanut gardens. Clean the field free of bushes and thick shades. Weed once in three months and mulch the basin with black polythene or dry leaves to avoid drying.

The percentage of male trees in population varies from 50-60 per cent and this also creates much difficulty in the cultivation of the crop. Problems such as lack of high yielder, planting grafts prepared from elite mother trees can solve variability in population and occurrence of male trees

Fertilizer application involves using 10 kg of cattle manure or compost per seedling/graft during the first year. This is increased gradually to 50 kg annually at15 years.

Seeds are collected manually from freshly harvested and fully ripened fruits before they fall. Immediately after harvesting, they are washed in running water to separate the fruit rind. The seed storage behaviour is recalcitrant. Viability can be maintained for 1-2 months in moist storage at 20°C.

It is found in semi-evergreen to evergreen forests. In India, it is commonly found in the evergreen and shola forests of Western Ghats, Karnataka and Kerala. The tree is very much adapted to both hilltops and plain lands, but its performance is best in riverbanks and valleys. It also grows well in dry or occasionally water logged or flooded soils.

Seeds, stem cuttings and grafts normally propagate G. gummi-gutta. In natural populations, seeds lie dormant for 8 months, coinciding with the period between the cessation and onset of annual rainfall.

Seeds are sown during the month of August-September. It takes 5-7 months for the seed to start germination. Seed treatment methods such as mechanical scarification or hormone treatments are employed to hasten germination. Seedlings can be kept under open condition or under shade. Regular irrigation on alternate days during summer months is necessary. The seedlings are ready for planting in 6-7 months and should start bearing fruits in 10-12 years

Softwood grafting and approach grafting are normally employed. Grafts start bearing in 3-4 years.

 The rinds of the ripe fruits are processed and used as a condiment in fish and prawn preparations to impart flavour and taste and to improve the keeping quality. In India, the dried seeds often yield a protein and fat-rich  butter, popularly known as uppage tuppa Fruit juice or syrup is used as a coolant and helps reduce body fat. Fruit rind is marketed in large quantities, for example in India, export of over 50 tonnes (valued at 17 million rupees) have been recorded

Timber: Its wood is used in construction and furniture making 

Shade or shelter: It’s a good shade tree for shade-loving crops such as ginger or in association with other field crops including medicinal plants

Lipids: Fat obtained from seed is used as vegetable butter.

Medicine: A decoction made from it is given for rheumatism and bowel complaints. In cattle, it is used as a wash for mouth diseases. An extract obtained from the mature fruit rind, Hydroxy Citric Acid, is used against obesity.

Ornamental: A good ornamental tree especially when mixed with other trees

Ideally suited for boundary planting on the farm field

Intercropping: The crop can be raised as a perennial intercrop with coconut and arecanut.