AN ASSESSMENT ON NATURAL REGENERATION OF Gymnema sylvestre, A RARE MEDICINAL PLANT

K. K. I. U. Arunakumara, U. Wickramasinghei, B. C. Walpola, S. Subasinghe

Abstract


Gymnema sylvestre R.Br. belonging to family Asclepiadaceae, is naturallyfound in tropical forests of India and in some parts of Sri Lanka. This herb isbest known for its ability to abolish the taste of sugar and has been used inthe treatment of diabetes. A number of commercial herbal products are nowavailable that contain varying amounts of gymnemic acids, the componentresponsible for the action against diabetes. Though the demand for thespecies is increasing rapidly, the commercial cultivation of the species is yetto be expanded. On the other hand it is felt that the natural regeneration ofthis important herb is poor and this study was carried out in Matara Districtof Southern Sri Lanka to assess the natural regeneration of the species.

An extensive survey was conducted in order to find the natural habitats andauthenticity was confirmed for the mother plants found in the area.Flowering, fruiting and other important physiological phases of the plantwere monitored and observations were made under natural conditions.Results revealed that Gymnema is propagated naturally by means of seedgermination only. Flowering commences late in the year and mature podsrelease seeds from early February each year. The low moisture content of theseeds at the time of release together with dry environmental conditions resultin very low germination and thus the natural regeneration of the species ispoor though a single mother plant produces thousands of seeds at a season.Therefore, an alternative mode of multiplication should be made available inorder to propagate and to conserve genetic stock of this useful plant.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.31357/fesympo.v0i0.1273

DOI (PDF): https://doi.org/10.31357/fesympo.v0i0.1273.g450

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Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, Sri Lanka. Published by Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura