Cordia obliqua Willd.
Synonymy: Cordia wallichii G. Don. Cordia myxa Linn. Cordio latifolia Roxb.
English name: Large sebesten
Indian names: chinna-nakeru, kichavirigi, nekkera (Andhra Pradesh); bahubara, bohari, bohodari, buhal (Bengal); bargund, gadgundi, nanugundi, pisten, sepisten (Gujrat); lassura (Himachal Pradesh); lasora, chhota, lasora (Hindi); chikkachalle, challe, dodda, challe (Karnataka); viri, cheruviri (Kerala); shelwant, burgund dubiwur, motabhokhar (Maharashtra); lassora, (Punjab); geduri, giduri (Sind); bahuvaraka. bahuwara, bhutvriksha, gandhapushpa (Sanskrit); naruvili, ali, namviri (Tamil Nadu)
Cordia obliqua Willd. is a medium-sized tree, found scattered throughout the mid-Himalyas up to elevations of 1,470 metres. The tree is very vigorous.
There are two forms of Cordia obliqua Willd., occurring in Himachal Pradesh. The major difference between these two is the size of the fruits, which is small in one case and large in the other. The present observations were recorded only on the small-fruited type which is commoner.
A medium-sized deciduous tree, 10.5 metres high; the girth of the trunk of a full-bearing tree being 75.5 cm; wood, light brown, moderately bard; branches, glabrous.
Leaves, alternate, entire to slightly dentate, 10.1 cm long, 5.7 cm broad; venation, reticulate-pinnate; young leaves, tomentose from beneath; mature leaves, almost glabrous. and ovate.
Flowers, very short-stalked, bisexual, actinomorphic, glabrous, complete, white, the average diameter of a fully open flower, 6 mm; inflorescence, terminal or an axillary cyme, almost resembling a biparous cyme; flowers per cluster, 14; calyx, cup-shaped, gamosepalous, about 4 mm in length, slightly dentate from top and light green; corolla, creamish white, polypetalous, with 4 petals, 6 mm in length; stamens, 2 in number, epipetalous, each having a very small filament; gynoecium, bifurcated, 4 mm, long, having a globose ovary at the base.
Fruit, a drupe, 1.75 cm in diameter, 2.92 g in weight, 2.88 ml in volume, colour, light yellow to slightly greenish, with a light-red tinge at the time of full maturity; epicarp, thick; mesocarp, mucilaginous; endocarp, hard and stony.
Stone, 8.5 mm in length, 7 mm in width, 375 mg in weight, 298 microlitres in volume, each stone containing two seeds, which are separated from each other by a stony septum seeds mildly sweet.
The flowering and fruiting season
The flowering starts during the last week of April and continues till the end of May under Dharampur (Himachal
Pradesh) conditions. The fruiting season lasts from the beginning of July to the end of August.
The average yield of a tree of Cordia obliqua Willd. is 52.5 kg.
Chemical composition of the fruit
The fruit contains moisture, 75 g; acidity, 0.2 g; total sugars, 3.55 g; reducing sugars, 3.41 g; non-reducing sugars, 0.08 g, and pectin, 4.5 g; all per 100 g of the edible portion. The total soluble solids of the fruit pulp constitute 10.2 per cent.
The fresh fruit contains, protein 2.06 g; ash, 2.132 g; phosphorus, 0.091 g; potassium, 1.066 g; calcium, 0.062 g; magnesium, 0.067 g; and iron 0.005 g per 100 g of the edible portion.
The fruits of Cordia obliqua Willd. can be used as an expectorant and are effective in treating the diseases of the lungs. In the raw condition, they contain a gum which can be used beneficially in gonorrhoea (Watt, 1889).
The fruits are also useful in treating coughs, the diseases of the chest, and chronic fever. They lessen thirst, and the scalding of the urine, remove pain from the joints and the burning of the throat and are also effective in treating the diseases of the spleen (Kirtikar and Basu, 1938). Uphof (1968) has stated that the fruits are used as a demulcent in southern Iran.
The mature fruits are highly mucilaginous, and sweet to alkaline They are not very good for eating in the fresh condition.
The raw fruits are used as a vegetable. A very good pickle of raw fruits is also made. The mucilaginous substance of the fruit can be used as a gum for pasting sheets of paper, cardboard , etc.
Serious losses are caused to Cordia obliqua Willd. in Himachal Pradesh and other parts of India by the maggots of fruitflies, found to be feeding inside the fruits. Along with them, the grubs of beetles are also found feeding on the pulp and the kernels. In the case of a severe attack. the loss due to these insect pests is 100 per cent. Suitable measures should be evolved to control these insect pests.