Salvadora persica   L.  (Plant)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Equisetopsida

Size: 6-7 m

Color: Young branches green in color. Bark greyish-brown on main stem, paler elsewhere. Leaves light to dark green. Flowers greenish to yellowish.

Salvadora persica is an evergreen shrub or small tree. Main trunk erect or trailing with profusely branched, wide crown of crooked, straggling and drooping branches. Bark slightly rough. Leaves oblong-elliptic to almost circular, 3 x 7 cm, rather fleshy, sometimes with wartlike glandular dots and dense, rather loose hairs; apex broadly tapering to rounded, sharp-tipped; base broadly tapering; margin entire; petiole up to 10 mm long; leaves in opposite pairs. Flowers very small, in loose, slender-branched axillary or terminal panicles, up to 10 cm long. Fruit spherical, fleshy, 5-10 mm in diameter, pink to scarlet when mature, single seeded; seeds turn from pink to purple-red and are semi-transparent when mature.

Seeds dispersed by animals and man after they eat the fruit.

Fruiting and flowering: February-June (Tamil Nadu, Orissa).

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Miriga
• Mustard Tree (English)
• Salt Bush (English)
• Toothbrush Tree (English)
• Jhal (Bengali)
• Jhak (Hindi)
• Kharjal (Hindi)
• Kalawa (Tamil)
• Karkol (Tamil)
• Perungoli (Tamil)
• Ughaiputtai (Tamil)
• Vivay (Tamil)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Ecosystem balance
(1. Fruits can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried and stored. Fermented drinks are also made from the fruit. The leaves are also cooked as a sauce and eaten with couscous or as a green vegetable. Tender shoots, seeds and seed oil are also edible. Edible salts are obtained from ashes.
2. Leaves and young shoots make good fodder.
3. It is reported as a good source of nectar for apiculture.
4. The wood is sometimes used for firewood and charcoal. However, it is not used for cooking meat, as it leaves a foul taste.
5. The wood is used for timber as it is soft, white, easy to work and is not liable to termite attack. Used for coffins and clubs.
6. Resin that drips from the tree is supposedly useful for making varnish.
7. Seeds contain 30-40% of a greenish-yellow, non-edible oil that has over 50% lauric and myristic acids. The most important aspect of the oil is the presence of a low percentage of C8 and C10 fatty acids that are of great economic significance. The oil is an alternative source of oil for soap and detergent industries.
8. Toothbrushes made from roots and small branches of about 3-5 mm diameter have been used for over 1000 years, especially by Islamic populations in India, Arabia and Africa. Several agents occurring in the bark and wood have been suggested as aids in prevention of dental caries, such as antimicrobial agents that suppress bacterial growth and the formation of plaque. The tooth stick is also said to relieve toothache and gum disease. Roots also are used for cleaning teeth and for relieving toothache. Decoctions of leaves are used as a mouthwash, and masticated leaves for tooth and gum problems.
9. A decoction of the root is used to treat gonorrhoea, spleen trouble and general stomach-ache. Roots are also used for chest diseases or pounded and used as a poultice to heal boils. The bark is scratched and the latex used for treating sores. Seeds are used as a tonic, and seed oil is used on the skin for rheumatism.
10. Planted as shelterbelts and windbreaks to protect farm habitation, gardens and orchards. Planted in sand dune reclamation and also useful for reclaiming saline soils.)

Trophic Level:  Producer


• West Bengal INDIA
• Orissa INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh INDIA
• Tamil Nadu INDIA
• Gujarat INDIA
• Karnataka, Kali Estuary INDIA
• Maharashtra, Malvan, Kolamb creek INDIA (Record: 1998-1999)
• Maharashtra, Sindhudurg INDIA
• Maharashtra, Ratnagiri INDIA
• Maharashtra, Raigarh INDIA
• Maharashtra, Thane INDIA
• Maharashtra, Mumbai INDIA
• Gujarat, Purna Estuary (Lat: 20.88) (Long: 72.73) INDIA (Record: 2006-2008)
• Gujarat, Purna Estuary (Lat: 21.01) (Long: 72.91) INDIA (Record: 2006-2008)
• Orissa, Dhamra Estuary INDIA
• Gujarat, Bhavnagar Estuary INDIA
• Orissa, Mahanadi Delta INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Rajendra N and Sanjeevi SB (2004) Flowering plants and fern in mangrove ecosystems of India: An identification manual ENVIS centre, Annamalai University, Parangipettai, Tamil Nadu, India. 110 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (2001) Critical habitat information system of Malvan (Maharashtra-India) Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate, Department of Ocean Development, Government of India 29 pp Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Available at -
  • Agroforestree (AFT) Database World Agroforestry Centre Available at -
  • Jagtap, TG; Untawale, AG and Inamdar, SN (1994) Study of mangrove environment of Maharashtra coast using remote sensing data Indian Journal of Marine Sciences Publications and Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi 23(2) 90-93 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Available at -
  • (2002) MangroveIndia Available at -
  • Achari, VS; Andrade, LV and Nayak, VN (2002) Biodiversity, ecology and conservation of mangroves in Devbagh creek of Kali estuary near Karwar,Karnataka,India Proceedings of the national seminar on creeks,estuaries and mangroves-pollution and conservation 72-74 Available at - NIO Goa
  • Bhatt, S; Shah, DG and Desai, N (2009) The mangrove diversity of Purna estuary, south Gujarat, India Tropical Ecology International Association for Ecology, Cambridge University Press. 50(2) 287-293 Available at -
  • Jagtap, TG; Desai, K and Rodrigues, R (2003) Coastal vegetation: patterns in a tourist region Coastal tourism, environment, and sustainable local development TERI 131-150 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Dutta, SK (2007) Biodiversity assessment of Dhamra port site and surrounding areas, Orissa Greenpeace India 4-38 Available at -
  • Mandal, RN and Naskar, KR (2008) Diversity and classification of Indian mangroves: a review Tropical Ecology International Society for Tropical Ecology 49(2) 131-146 Available at -
  • Banerjee, LK and Roa, TA (2001) Flora of the Mahanadi Delta, Orissa Botanical Survey of India 1-307 Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2011-11-24

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