Socio-economic and horticultural potential of Khirni [Manilkara hexandra (Roxb.) Dubard]: a promising underutilized fruit species of India


Manilkara hexandra (Roxb.) Dubard (Khirni) is a socio-economically important fruit and nut species of tribal population of tropical deciduous forests of western and central India. Survey and collection missions were undertaken to study the extent of variability and socio-economic importance of Khirni germplasm in diversity rich areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. A total of 99 accessions of this important tree species were collected from surveyed regions, of which 47 diverse accessions were selected for morphological characterization showing wide range of variation in agro-morphological traits. During the survey, sizable variability in morphological characters and high socio-economic potential of Khirni was recorded. Bark, fresh fruits and extracted seeds have high nutritional and medicinal value. Tree provides substantial livelihood support to local inhabitants as collected fresh fruits from natural populations fetch good price in local markets. Besides livelihood support species, M. hexandra contributes in the nutritional security of the women and children of this area by fulfilling the need of micronutrients and vitamin A. Due to the high market demand of fresh fruits and seeds and without any organized cultivation, pressure on natural wild populations is severely building up since last several decades and therefore, the genetic variability of this species is now facing a great threat and need immediate complementary conservation efforts. Based on higher diversity index and natural population size of this species six in situ conservation sites have been suggested for dynamic conservation in western and central Indian states and 60 accessions have been successfully cryostored.

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Authors are thankful to Head, Exploration and Collection Division, NBPGR and Director, NBPGR, New Delhi for continuous encouragement and support. We acknowledge the support extended by Dr. Sanjay Singh, Head, CHES, Central Institute of Arid Horticulture, Godhra, India.

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Malik, S.K., Choudhary, R., Kumar, S. et al. Socio-economic and horticultural potential of Khirni [Manilkara hexandra (Roxb.) Dubard]: a promising underutilized fruit species of India. Genet Resour Crop Evol 59, 1255–1265 (2012).

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  • Conservation
  • Khirni
  • Manilkara hexandra
  • Sapotaceae
  • Socio-economic importance