Vateria indica

Vateria indica

The white dammar (Vateria indica L.) is an arboreal species belonging to the Dipterocarpaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Plantæ Kingdom,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Order Theales,
Dipterocarpaceae family,
Genus Vateria,
Species V. indica.
The term is synonymous:
– Vateria malabarica Blume.

Etymology –
The term Vateria was attributed in honor of the German physician and botanist Abraham Vater (1684-1751), a professor in Wittenberg, best known for his works on anatomy, such as the description of the pancreatic duct, known as the ampulla of Vater.
The specific indica epithet refers to India or the Indies: for Indian origin.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Vateria indica is a plant endemic to the Western Ghats mountains in India. It is found in the southern and central region, from the hills of Agasthyamalai in the south to southern Maharashtra, mainly in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Its habitat is that of the evergreen forests of the coastal plains and foothills usually up to an altitude of about 760m, or up to 800m on the windward side of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. Although more common at the lower elevations, trees can be found up to an altitude of 1200m.
Outside the forests, the tree is used as an ornamental in the avenues, along the roadsides of some areas.
In Karnataka, the species is not found in the Uttara Kannada district, but was introduced by the Sonda Kinds about 500 years ago and planted along roadsides in the towns of Sirsi, Siddapur and Yellapur. The plant has been widely planted as a tree by avenues in Dakshina Kannada and in the Malabar and Travancore regions of Kerala.

Description –
Vateria indica is an evergreen tree with a cylindrical and straight trunk, up to 40 m tall, occasionally up to 60 m. In evergreen forests, trees can reach a large circumference, with an individual reaching up to 5.26m in circumference recorded at Kodagu.
It has smooth, gray bark with green and white spots on the trunk and with some cream-colored areas. A white aromatic resin emanates from the scars or incisions.
The tree has dense foliage that forms an oval or dome-shaped crown. The young twigs are nearly cylindrical and have stellate (star-shaped) hairs.
The leaves, which are simple, alternate and spirally arranged around the twigs, are leathery, about 8-27 x 4.5-10 cm, glabrous, elliptical-oblong, with a short pointed tip, rounded base, and entire margin. The color of young leaves is dark red or maroon, which turns pinkish red and green as the leaf matures. The petioles are 2 to 3.5 cm long, swollen at the apex and almost hairless, with narrow lateral stipules that fall. The vein of the leaves comprises 13 to 20 pairs of secondary nerves, with tertiary nerves strictly parallel at right angles to the secondary ones.
The inflorescence is in axillary panicles densely covered with starry hairs. The flowers are white, fragrant, about 2 cm in diameter, with 5 petals, about 40-50 stamens and yellow anthers, with a columnar style that protrudes beyond the anthers.
The antesis is between late January and early May.
The fruit is a brown, oblong or egg-shaped 3-valve capsule, approximately 6.4 x 3.8 cm. The base of the fruit has the persistent remains of the chalice with 5 backward curved sepals. The ovary is 3-celled, with 2 ova in each cell but the fruit typically produces a single seed with large cotyledons. The average weight of the ripe fruit is about 70 g; the fruit has a thick and hard pericarp and voluminous cotyledons weighing about 13 – 15 g.

Cultivation –
The white dammar is an endemic species of the Western Ghats mountain range in India where it is threatened by habitat loss.
Within its distribution range it is found in areas with an average annual rainfall between 2000 and 3000 mm and an average annual temperature slightly above 27 ° C (range from 16.7 ° C to 37.8 ° C). The number of rainy days varies from 118 to 130 with an average annual humidity of 77-79% within the distribution zone.
This plant is found in areas where the underlying rock is a gneissic complex, often laminated, which can be covered with laterite 9–10 m deep. Laterite may be disintegrating from hard rock to fine gravel. Trees are typically found in forests with a thick layer of humus on the surface. Trees are also found in lowland and plateau areas, but mostly found along well-drained banks and valleys in moist and humid forest tracts. At lower elevations it grows in deep sandy soils and also grows in Myristica swamp forests in Kerala and Karnataka.
Vateria indica is a plant whose flowers are pollinated by bees. These plants in Sringeri in Western and Central Ghats bloom from late January to early May. The trees bloom every other year with a tree event occurring every four years.
The flowers, which open during the day and last only one day, attract nectarivores and generalist pollinators. They are regularly visited by social bees such as the Asian honey bee and the giant honey bee, and more occasionally by other bees such as Lasioglossum, Ceratina, Tetragonula iridipennis, Xylocopa latipes, Xylocopa rufescens, and Xylocopas verticalis.
The trees bear fruit mainly during the southwest monsoon months between July and September, with fruit falling during periods of downpour towards the end of the monsoon. On trees, the fruit can sometimes show a raised radicle, indicating its vitality. There is no dormancy as the seeds germinate within 1-6 days after fall, keeping the bulky cotyledons for over a week.
A study in the Sringeri forests found that seed germination and seedling growth are influenced by seed predators and herbivorous insects, particularly the latter. In this area, about 91% of the fruit were attacked by a weevil and a bark beetle (borer), with eggs, larvae, pupae and adults of both predators seen in the infected fruit. However, seed predation, determined by damage to the growing germ, was low, observed in only 11% of fruits. The weevil was found mainly in the fibrous pericarp about half the time or in the cotyledons (37%) and less often (13%) in the shoot. The borer has mainly targeted the cotyledon (97%) and has only minimally affected (3%) the pericarp of the fruit. While cotyledon attacks did not kill the seedlings, infestation of its shoots led to seedling mortality. Herbivorous insects killed about 45% of the seedlings. Two species of sap sucking ants (Pheidole and Pheidolegeton), a leaf miner from the Diptera family Tipulidae and the larvae of a Lymantrid moth were the main herbivores of the seedling, with herbivores of the latter two taxa (leaf miner and moth) which often lead to seedling mortality. No vertebrate seed predators or seed dispersers were recorded.

Customs and Traditions –
Vateria indica is a plant that is known by a number of common names in local languages. Tamil: Dhupa Maram தூப மரம், Painimaram பைனிமரம், Vellaikundrikam வெள்ளைகுன்றிகம், Vellaidamar வெள்ளை டமார், Vellai Kungiliyam வெள்ளை, Turulakkam துருளக்கம், Vellai Kunkiliyam வெள்ளைக்குங்கிலியம்.
Malayalam: കുന്തിരിക്കപ്പൈന് Kuntirikkappayin, പയിനി Papi, വെള്ളപ്പൈന് Vellappayin, Baine, Kunturukkam, Paenoe, Paine, Payan, Payan, Payani, Payin, Pandam, Pantam, Peini, Perumumyani, Perumpiney, Pine, Piny, Pyney, Tokeney, Tukum, Vella, Vellapayin, Vellakondricum, Velutta Kunturukkam, ബൈനെ, കുന്തുരുക്കും, പൈനോയ്, പൈനെ, പൈനി, പയന്, പയിനി, പയിന്, പഞ്ഞം, പീനി, പെരുംപയിണി, പൈനെയ്, തെള്ളി, വെളള വെളള.
Kannada: ಬಿಳಿ ಡಾವರು Bili Daamaru, ಬಿಳಿ ಧೂಪ Bili Dhupa, ಧೂಪದ ಮರ Dhupada Mara, Bilagaggala, Dhupa mara, Gugli, Hugadamara, Rala, Velthapaini.
Telugu: తెల్లగుగ్గిలము tellaguggilamu.
Marathi: चंद्रुस chandrusa.
What she Dislikes: ମନ୍ଦଧୂପ mandadhupa, ସନ୍ଦରସ sandarasa.
Sanskrit: सर्जकः sarjakah.
And still others.
This plant is used for many uses.
Vateria indica wood has been used to make teapots, partitions, packing cases and cordite, coffins, boxes, planking, poles, floors, ceilings and cabinets, as well as reels and shuttles in the textile industry, oars for tall ships sea, and matches. Large quantities of Vateria indica lumber were shipped from the Malabar region to Bombay to be sold as “Malabar White Pine”, with approximately 6200 tons of lumber used per year through the 1960s. The wood, after a conservative treatment, was also used for the railway sleepers.
A resin is obtained from the bark.
The resin of Vateria indica, extracted by carving the bark of the tree, is called white dammar, also known as “Malabar fallow”, “dhupa fat”, “Indian Copal” or “piney resin”. It is used as incense in India, for incense sticks, and for making candles and soaps.
A fat called “tallow piney” was extracted from the dried kernels, which was used to adulterate ghee, make candles and soaps, to treat chronic rheumatism and to calibrate cotton thread in place of animal tallow.
Resin mixed with coconut oil creates an excellent paint reminiscent of copal. The bark, resin and leaves are used in Ayurvedic, siddha, unani and popular medicine for the treatment of leprosy, eczema, rheumatism, diarrhea and ulcers. The fine resin chips are administered internally to control diarrhea. Vateria indica oil, produced from seeds, is refined to produce a fat used in confectionery and cosmetics.
Some studies and researches have deepened the potential and uses of this plant.
The bark extract may have potential use for treating degenerative conditions of the brain. One study found that young amnesic mice pretreated with ethanol extract from Vateria indica bark acquired neuroprotection and enhanced memory. Several stilbenoids (bergenin, hopeaphenol, vaticanol B, vaticanol C and ε-viniferin) present in the resins (ethanol extract from the bark of the stem of Vateria indica) have been shown to have some antitumor activity in vitro against mouse sarcoma by retarding growth of the tumor when given in high doses (30 or 100 mg / kg of body mass). Rat experiments also indicate a significant reduction in obesity after administration of aqueous stem bark extract.
From the bark of the stem of Vateria indica, two new stilbenoids have been isolated, vateriafenol A and B, along with ten known stilbenoids and bergenin. The stem bark also contains a high content of phenols and flavonoids. In one study, stem bark produced 670 mg / g and 310 mg / g of total phenolic content in ethanolic and aqueous extracts, respectively, while the corresponding total flavonoid content was 74 mg / g and 62 mg / g.
From the leaves were obtained two new derivatives of resveratrol (5E24 hydroxyphenylethenylbenzene1,3diol), vateriaphenol D and E, together with six known resveratrol oligomers, an isocoumarin bergenin and a benzophenone. Another study isolated a number of compounds from the leaves: a new resveratrol dimer dimer with a symmetrical C2 structure (vateriaphenol F), two new resveratrol oligomer O-glycosides, vaterioside A (resveratrol dimer), vaterioside B (tetramer of resveratrol), as well as a new natural compound and 33 known compounds including 26 derivatives of resveratrol.
Vateria indica seeds also contain almost 19% fatty oils, with polysaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid (48%) and stearic acid (43%), which has a good potential for conversion into biodiesel. An optimal oil yield of 22.85% was observed using solvent extraction at a temperature of 66.6 ° C, an extraction time of 4.41 hours and with a solvent / seed ratio of 1.353 ml / g . The pure white starch with a yield of about 30% was isolated from defatted Vateria indica seed flours.
Ecologically speaking, Vateria indica was previously listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to over-exploitation of timber for the plywood industry, habitat loss and other human activities. A 2020 assessment placed the species in the Vulnerable category. According to the recent evaluation, in addition to the exploitation of wood and the extensive loss of habitat due to human activities in the lowland areas, the species is very limited, also due to the limited dispersion of seeds that limit its regeneration. The intensive and market-driven harvest of walnuts is expected to further affect the remaining populations in recent years. In the forests of Sringeri, where the subsistence crop of seeds (for edible oil) has given way to commercial exploitation and trade (for raw materials for the oil and paint industry), the abundance of seeds on the forest soil was 96% lower after harvest than before harvest. The amount of nuts traded in this location increased from 5 tons in 1999-2000 (to ₹ 0.25 / kg) to 820 tons in 2009-2010 (₹ 2.25 / kg) and 650 tons in 2011-12 (₹ 2.60 / kg), raising concerns about the sustainability of the harvest and the regeneration impact of Vateria indica.

Preparation Method –
Vateria indica is a plant known and used since ancient times, in its areas of origin for various uses and in Ayurvedic medicine.
From this plant, by carving the bark, a resin is extracted which is called white dammar, also known as “Malabar fallow”, “dhupa fat”, “Indian Copal” or “piney resin”. This is used as incense in India, for incense sticks, and for making candles and soaps.
An oil is extracted from the seeds that can find various uses including biodiesel.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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