Article on Ramkand from Times of India Pune edition. 11May2011

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Satish Phadke

May 11, 2011, 5:10:47 AM5/11/11
to indiantreepix
The link may not work so I have copied the contents of an article related to one interesting plant we had discussed earlier. I think Pankaj Oudhia ji has more knowledge on this.

Dr Phadke Satish

Green group conducts DNA barcoding of Ramkand

Kalyani Sardesai TNN

Pune: Sahyadri Genes, a Kolhapur-based environmentalcum-research group, and the department of botany, Shivaji University, have carried out DNA barcoding of the Ramkand plant, which, according to popular legend, was consumed by Lord Rama while in exile.
    The study, which establishes that the plant is a monocot and not a tuber, has been published in the recent issue of ‘Current Science’.
    Speaking to TOI, Mansingraj Nimbalkar, president, Sahyadri Genes, said, “For several years, the exact iden
tity of Ramkand has remained a mystery for both plant researchers and students. Though the tuber is being sold for several years, especially at places of pilgrimage, its source is one of the best kept secrets by vendors. The name and information provided by vendors give an impression that the tuber was eaten by Lord Rama during his days of exile. Previous efforts to identify the plant have proved unsuccessful. The only material available for study are the thin slices sold by vendors.”
    During the study, the team initially found it difficult to establish its identity as a
monocot. “Though the anatomical study showed a cell structure typical to the monocot, it only confused us further. This is because, monocots have adventitious roots and not a tap root.”
    The DNA was extracted from the slices obtained from a vendor at Jyotiba hill temple at Wadi Ratnagiri in Kolhapur district. The slices were approximately 4.5 inches in size and two to three mm in thickness.
    The sequence was used to find similarities with the other submitted sequences. The search showed that the sequence was 89 per cent similar to the Agave sisalana — a monocot.
    “To confirm this further, we checked more plants of the Agave genus. The leaves enclosing the rosette and juvenile inflorescence (soft
middle portion of the plant) were removed, which exposed the core of the rosette. The core was soft and similar in dimension to that of the Ramkand plant,” said G B Dikshit, professor, department of botany, Shivaji University.
    Taxonomist S R Yadav explained the significance of the DNA barcoding. “It is a major step forward as the plant has proved to be difficult to place. Over the last 25 years, I have approached leading botanists in the country to help me identify the Ramkand, but they could not,” he said.
    Moreover, the study dis
pels the myth about the plant being a tuber. “The origin of the plant is being carefully concealed by vendors, but Ramkand, which is sold to devotees in the name of Lord Rama, is actually not recommended for human consumption. In fact, it can prove to be poisonous,” he said.
    “One variety of the Agave genus is used to make a syrup for diabetic patients, but, by and large, the species are not meant to be eaten. Since it is sold in thin slices and people consume it in small quantities, it may not have had any noticeable after-effects. But it is important that people know the facts,” Yadav said.

The Ramkand plant

Ritesh Choudhary

May 11, 2011, 6:29:49 AM5/11/11
to efloraofindia
Very interesting!

Thanks for posting sir!


Satish Chile

May 11, 2011, 6:55:21 AM5/11/11
to Ritesh Choudhary, efloraofindia
Interesting. Thanx

Dr. Satish Kumar Chile


May 11, 2011, 7:15:52 AM5/11/11
to efloraofindia
Very valuable and useful info. Thanks for sharing.

On May 11, 2:10 pm, Satish Phadke <> wrote:
> The link may not work so I have copied the contents of an article related to
> one interesting plant we had discussed earlier. I think Pankaj Oudhia ji has
> more knowledge on this.
> The Ramkand plant


May 11, 2011, 10:41:15 AM5/11/11
to Mahadeswara, efloraofindia
We have already discussed about this plant (in Feb'10), and its id is also established few years back by Dr.Narasimhan. Please check this link:

I am glad that it has now been published with a scientific evidence.
Vijayasankar Raman
National Center for Natural Products Research
University of Mississippi

Satish Phadke

May 11, 2011, 1:20:58 PM5/11/11
to Vijayasankar, Mahadeswara, efloraofindia
Thanks Vijaysankar ji
I wanted to search the older thread which you have shared promptly in this reply.
The plant in the report is same as you had earlier told on this forum.
Dr Satish Phadke

Ritesh Kumar Choudhary

May 12, 2011, 2:05:28 AM5/12/11
to efloraofindia

Just saw this article in Current Science.



Satish Phadke

May 12, 2011, 10:20:16 AM5/12/11
to Ritesh Kumar Choudhary, efloraofindia
Ritesh ji
Thanks for the link....

tanay bose

May 12, 2011, 10:26:00 AM5/12/11
to Ritesh Kumar Choudhary, efloraofindia
The interesting but If you are using PCR in your experiment then 
you should always mention the "primers" used. The paper seriously 
lack the information. Next with partial amplification of a gene you 
cant be sure that its from A sisalana !! 
Tanay Bose
Research Assistant & Teaching Assistant.
Department of Botany.
University of British Columbia .
3529-6270 University Blvd.
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4 (Canada)
Phone: 778-323-4036 (Mobile)
           604-822-2019 (Lab)
           604-822-6089  (Fax)


May 18, 2011, 10:23:52 AM5/18/11
to tanay bose, Ritesh Kumar Choudhary, efloraofindia
Hi Tanay,

As you said, they could have cited the reference for the primers. But matK is a quite conservered region and some papers even suggest it to be a suitable region for DNA barcoding like coxI for animals. Manytimes a partial matK region is enough for phylogeny. I am sure, matK would be accurate upto the genus level, but after getting the clue we can look for morphological similarity between the Agave sisalana stem and Ramkhand for further clarification.

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