Chalta / Elephant Apple

  • DSC02264
  • ELEPHAT APPLE
  • DSC02269
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Common name:

Elephant Apple, Indian catmon, Hondapara Tree, Ma-tad Chalta, Karambel.

Bengali Name:

Chalta, Chalita (চালতা)

Tribal name:

Ulugach, Dabrusi (Chakma); Kra Aning (Marma); Jhaipola (Tipra); Thabru, Dabru, Chauralei (Murong).

Botanical name:

Dillenia indica

 Family: Dilleniaceae

Description :

A native plan of south eastern Asia, found in India, Bangladesh and Srilanka, east to southwestern China (Yunnan) and Vietnam, and south through Thailand to Malaysia and Indonesia.

In Bangladesh it grows all over the country under cultivated condition. In greater Barisal it grows more under cultivation. Chalta also grows in forest of greater  Chittagong

The fruit thrives in swamps and semi -tropical forests in deep soil and humid atmosphere. In India the fruit grows well in the northern tropical regions of India, particularly in Assam and Kolkata. Other parts of India where the elephant apple grows are the dry hill areas of Bihar, Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Officially harvesting of Chalta(elephant apple) from forest is prohibited in India as this fruits is one of the favorite fruits of wild elephant. There was incidents that elephant apples were the center of a fight between Kolkata villagers and their neighboring elephants. Unfortunately, the villagers’ illegal overharvesting of the fruit caused the elephants to stray outside of the forests and into the villages in search of food.

It is a medium sized evergreen large shrub or small to medium-sized tree growing to 15 m tall. The leaves are 15–36 cm long, with a conspicuously corrugated surface with impressed veins. Leaves fascicled at the end of the branches, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate( pointed), 20-30 cm long, sharply serrate.

Flowers white, large, up to 15 cm diam., solitary, towards the end of each branchlets with five white petals and numerous yellow stamens. Flowers arise solitary at the ends of the twigs, facing downward. The sepals are rounded and yellowish green.

Fruits are large, 7.5-10 cm diam., subglobose  aggregate of 15 carpels, each carpel containing five seeds embedded in an edible pulp.

Flowers appears during June-July and fruit mature during September-October.

Seed collection time is October-December. Chalta can be easily propagated from fresh seeds. Chalta seeds cannot be preserved for long time. Cutting can be used for vegetative propagation

Nutritional value : 

The nutritional value per 100g of edible elephant apple flesh is:

59kcal

.8% Protein

.2-2.5% Fat

2.1-2.5% Fiber

3.54% Ash

16 mg Calcium

26 mg Phosphorous

4 mg Ascorbic Acid

Chemical constituents:

Chief contents of the fleshy sepals are tannins, malic acid, arabinogalactan and glucose. They also contain an arabinogalactan, betulin, betulinic acid and flavonoids.

Bark and wood contain flavonoids, betulin, betulinic acid, betulinaldehyde, lupeol, β-sitosterol, myricetinhydroxy-lactone, dihydroisorhamneti, dillentin and glucosides.

Leaves contain flavones, cycloartenone, betulinic acid, n-hentriacontanol and β-sitosterol.

Stem bark contains betulinaldehyde, betulin, lupeol, β-sitosterol, myricetin, a new hydroxylactone, dihydro-isorrhamnetin, dillentin and glucosides.

Constituents :

– Fruit is very watery, 86.4% water, with 10% insoluble matter, and very little of that is nutritious.

– Calyces of the fresh ripe fruit yields: moisture 86.40%, alcohlic extract 3.0 %, water extract 0.37%, and insolubles 10.23%.

– Composition of an alcoholic extract was: Moisture 8.20, tannin 1.40, glucose 12.15, mallic acid 2.21, petroleum ether solubles (fats, etc.) 0.72, albuminoids 0.85, ash 12.63, and pectous matter etc., 61.84.

– Kernel of D. indica yielded antioxidant compounds 1-Dotriacontano and BHT

Uses:

Elephant Apple(chalta) has wide ranges of use in places it grows.

Elephant apple used as curry aromatizer, Unripe elephant apples make a zesty, pungent pickled chutney, the jelly-like pulp us used for jams and preserves,when sugar is added, the fruit makes a light, refreshing juice.

Medicinal and health Benefits:

The elephant apple has been used for its curative properties in Indian subcontinent  for centuries. It’s a fruit commonly used in Ayurveda to treat nervousness, stomach upsets and fatigue . Additionally the bark and juice from the leaves were given as a treatment for diarrhea and cancer, Amoebic dysentery, cough and cold.

Rubbing the fruit’s gummy substance in the scalp is believed to treat dandruff and hair shedding.

Scientific studies shows the following properties of elephant apple:

–The International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research published reports by scientists in Assam citing the fruit’s antidiabetic properties and high phytochemicals

The Journal of Global Pharma Technology published a report lauding the fruit’s antimicrobial properties

–The International Journal of Pharmacology reported studies indicating the elephant apple bark’s analgesic qualities

–A 2009 study in “Pharmacology” conducted by scientists in India reveals elephant apple’s anti-inflammatory properties

OTHER USES :

Red dye – A red dye is obtained from the tree bark. Wood from Elephant Apple is strong,heavy and long lasting,used for boat making, furniture etc.

Photo: Capt.Kawsar Mostafa

Reference :

1.Traditional Uses of Ethnomedicinal Plants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts – Bangladesh National Harbarium

2. Prokiti Somogra – Prof. Dizen Sharma,Dhaka

3. Tropical Garden Plants –Horticulture and Allied Publication, Kolkata

4. Wild flowers of Bangladesh – Noazesh Ahmed,Dhaka

5. Indian Medicinal Plants – C.P. Khare

6. Veshaj Udvid O lokaj Babohar(Medicinal Plants & their Uses) – Abani Bhushan Thakur,Dhaka

7.Wikipedia

8. Flowerasindia.net[/tab]

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