Morphological characterization of Indian Sarsaparilla [Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br. ex Schult.] – A potential medicinal plant
Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br. ex. Schult, commonly called Indian Sarsaparilla, belongs to the family Apocynaceae and is one among the unexplored high valued medicinal plants endemic to the Indian subcontinent. In the recent past, the wild population of this valuable plant species is diminishing and being grouped in the list of endangered species. Environmental Information System (EIS) 2014 has reported H. indicus as a red listed medicinal plant which warrants an immediate need for the collection and conservation of this species. An exploration trip was undertaken to collect H. indicus germplasm from five different regions representing mountains and plains of Tamil Nadu and collected germplasm was successfully established and conserved in pot culture at the net house of Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. A detailed morphological characterization on twenty-two qualitative and thirteen quantitative traits of the germplasm collections was done and two morphotypes viz., narrow-leaf and broad-leaf plant types. The morphological characterization of this species will be useful for germplasm collectors in the precise identification of the species and the development of an efficient set of descriptors. The collection and maintenance of different ecotypes will thus help to conserve this endangered medicinal plant.
Key words: Nannari, Crop descriptor list, Quantitative and Qualitative characters
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