An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Terminalia citrina

Terminalia citrina

The yellow myrobalan (Terminalia citrina (Gaertn.) Roxb. Ex Fleming) is an arboreal species belonging to the Combretaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subarign Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Subclass Rosidae,
Order Myrtales,
Combretaceae family,
Genus Terminalia,
T. citrina species.
Basionimo is the term:
– Myrobalanus citrina Gaertn ..
The terms are synonymous:
– Bucida comintana Blanco;
– Combretum arboreum Miq.;
– Embryogonia arborea Teijsm. & Binn.;
– Terminalia arborea Koord.;
– Terminalia chebula var. citrina (Gaertn.) Gagnep.;
– Terminalia citrina (Gaertn.) Roxb.;
– Terminalia comintana Merr.;
– Terminalia curtisiae Ridl.;
– Terminalia curtisii Ridl.;
– Terminalia hilia Buch.-Ham.;
– Terminalia hilia Buch.-Ham. ex Wall.;
– Terminalia manii King;
– Terminalia multiflora Merr.;
– Terminalia teysmannii Koord. & Valeton.

Etymology –
The term Terminalia comes from terminalis terminal: in reference to the leaves grouped at the ends of the branches.
The specific citrine epithet comes from citrus lemon: for the lemon-yellow flowers.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The yellow myrobalan is a plant native to Southeast Asia and is found in Nepal, Eastern Himalayas, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bangladesh, Bhutan, northeastern India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Its habitat is that of low and medium altitude forests, often along the coast and present in plantations in the hinterland.

Description –
Terminalia citrina is an evergreen or deciduous tree (depending on the growth area) of medium size, with a stem that can have a diameter of 100 cm and that reaches 20-30 meters in height.
The bark is gray or brown in color, slightly vertically cracked on the outside, light yellow, turning brown and fibrous inside, about 8 mm thick.
The young shoots are shiny, rusty red or velvety brown, soon hairless. The leaves are almost opposite, 7-19 x 3-10 cm, lanceolate or from oblong-lanceolate to elliptic, pointed or slightly tapered; they are velvety when young, hairless and shiny when ripe; the lateral ribs 8-12 on both halves are curved upwards; have a wedge or rounded base; the peduncle is 1.0-2.5 cm long, prominent, round glands.
The flowers are carried in finely velvety rust-colored spikes, panicle at the ends of the shoots, with branches lower than the axilla of the leaves or sometimes solitary and at the axilla of the leaves. The flowers are about 5 mm in diameter, without peduncle, all hermaphrodites, each with a small silky-velvety linear deciduous bract, those towards the bottom of the spikes are spoon-shaped and larger towards the bottom. The cup of the sepal is hairless on the outside, rusty in color and hairy on the inside.
The fruit is 5-7.5 cm by 1.8-2.5 cm, oblong-lanceolate, slightly club-shaped, smooth, hairless, darkly 5-ridged.

Cultivation –
Terminalia citrina is a tree that is harvested in nature for local use as a medicine and source of tannins and wood and of which the wood is also traded.
As far as cultivation is concerned, it is a typical plant of tropical and subtropical areas that prefers areas with medium-high rainfall and soils rich in organic matter.
Propagation occurs by seed but can also be multiplied by cuttings.

Customs and Traditions –
Terminalia citrina is known by different names depending on the area where it grows or is cultivated; comes chaiamat: Yellow Myrobalan, Lemon Myrobalan – Assamese: হিলিখা Hilikha – Kachari: Senemphang, Suluka-baphong, Silika, Hartaki – Garo: Aritok, Bolomit – Manipuri: and others.
This plant is used both for food and medicinal use but also for its timber.
Its bark is said to be diuretic and cardiotonic and the fruits are used in a similar way to Terminalia chebula and used in various pharmaceutical preparations, which are sometimes adulterated with other plant substances.
The fruits are similar and often interchanged with those of Terminalia chebula.
The fruits contain tannins and are therefore astringent and are used in cases of chronic diarrhea.
The tannin is extracted from the fruits and a blue dye is obtained from the bark.
As for the wood, the heartwood has an irregular profile, greyish or brownish with dark purplish brown streaks; it is not clearly demarcated by the band of the sapwood, 5 – 10 cm wide, which is yellowish white when fresh, tending to pale greyish brown. The consistency is fine and smooth; the straight grain. The wood is hard, heavy, quite resistant, even the sapwood is not attacked by beetles.
It is used for the posts above the abutments; beams, joists, rafters; plans; sheath; ceiling; boats, masts, furniture and cabinet-making.
In Indochina it is said that beautiful furniture is made from it.

Preparation Method –
Terminalia citrina is a plant intended for food or medicinal use and often used as an adulterant of Terminalia chebula.
It is mainly used for the presence of tannins and therefore for its astringent property; in this sense the fruits are used above all.

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.
Photo source:

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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