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Phytosociological Studies on Natural Populations of Terminalia chebula Retz. in District Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh

Samanpreet Singh, Kamal Sharma and Dushyant Sharma

  • Page No:  191 - 195
  • Published online: 28 Apr 2020
  • DOI: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.23910/IJEP/2019.6.4.0349

  • Abstract
  •  sharmadus@gmail.com

The present phytosociological study was conducted on five natural populations of Terminalia chebula Retz. Distributed in Hamirpur district of with the objective to study vegetation structure and distribution pattern of different tree and shrub species in these populations.   In each natural population five quadrats of 20 x 20 m (400 m2) size were randomly laid to examine tree species and for the analysis of shrubs, a sub-square of 5x 5 m (25 m2) size was chosen in each quadrat. Terminalia chebula Retz. was found dominant among tree species in all populations, while among shrubs Murraya koengii was dominant species. Species richness in trees ranged from 1.13 to 2.69 and in shrubs it ranged from 0.28 to 0.54.

Keywords :   Dominant, frequency, harar, populations, quadrats, richness

  • Introduction

    Himachal Pradesh has been regarded as a veritable emporium of plant resources, rich in medicinal and aromatic plants. Terminalia chebula, among medicinal plants is one of the important plants used in various medicines. It is commonly called Harar, Black Myrobalan, Chebulic Myrobalan and is also known as the “King of Medicine” and is native to India and South East Asia (Dymock et al., 1976). Harar have been traditionally used in Indian system of medicine Ayurveda. It is routinely used as household remedy throughout sub-continent for treating stomach colic of sucking infants and as a laxative for the old. Harar is also useful in apthae, bite trouble, blood pressure, carious teeth, cough, dysentery, diarrhea, piles, vaginal discharge, ulcers, vomiting, worms and has been held in high esteem in Hindu medicines. Myrobalans are also employed in the preparation of ink and in dyeing as amordant for the basic aniline dyes. T. chebula exhibits antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti mutagenic and anti carcinogenic activity. Fruit pulp of Terminalia chebula is used in many of the standard preparations such as ‘triphala’ and ‘chayvanprash’ which is use as food supplement. Harar is found in mixed dry deciduous forests, and is often found in tropical and subtropical areas, mostly hilly tracks. It is spread over the greater part of India, except in the arid zone (Troup, 1921). Phytosociological studies provide information on the abundance, distribution, and rate of change in species composition. Both the vegetation structure and diversity play a strong functional role in controlling processes in ecosystems such as the production of biomass, water and nutrient cycling (Gower et al., 1992). The actual populations of Terminalia Chebula in Himachal Pradesh are limited to a few areas, primarily in the Lower or Shivalik Chir pine forest type or subtype 9/C1a in Himachal Pradesh where Pinus roxburghii and Terminalia chebula are found. A comprehensive literature search failed to discover any useful information on the phytosociology of Harar. Keeping in view the socio-economic importance of the species, this research was carried out with the aim of researching the pattern of distribution and ecological status of natural populations Terminalia chebula Retz. in Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh.

  • Materials and Methods

    2.1.  Study sites

    The present study was confined to five Terminalia chebula Retz.  natural populations, distributed in Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh. The physical description of the natural populations is provided in Table 1. The research site climate was sub-tropical, with cold winters. The temperature rose to a high of 40°C in the summer and a low of 7 °C in the winter and mostly rainfall in the monsoon.

    2.2.  Method of data collection

    In each natural population, five quadrats of 20×20 m2 (400 m2) size were randomly laid to examine tree species. Size of quadrat was determined by the species area curve method. A sub-square of 5×5 m (25 m2) size for shrubs was chosen in each quadrat. The number of trees in each sample plot was computed by counting trees. Basal area of trees and shrubs present in the quadrates was measured with wooden and digital calipers, respectively. The density of plant was determined by counting plants of various species. Vegetation data for density, frequency, and abundance were quantitatively analyzed. Relative Ecological variation in the size, relative density and relative basal area of Terminalia chebula were determined by using formula given by Phillips (1959), while the importance value index (IVI) was calculated by using the formulae of Curtis (1959) and Mishra (1989). The species richness was calculated using ‘Margalef’s index of richness’ (Dmg) (Magurran, 1988).

  • Results and Discussion

    The tree and shrub species that were in five natural populations of Terminalia chebula Retz. are presented in Tables 2 to 6. There were 11, 9, 11, 6 and 5 tree species in Naraina, Kothi, Pahlu, Makar and Uled respectively in natural populations of Terminalia chebula. In Naraina, Terminalia chebula was dominant species with IVI value of 124.48 and Pinus roxburghii was co-dominant tree species having IVI of 38.95. Murraya koenigii was dominant shrub species with IVI of 133.00 followed by Lantana camara with IVI of 111.35 (Table 2).

    In Kothi with IVI value of 112.31, Terminalia chebula was dominant tree species and Pinus roxburghii as co-dominant tree species with IVI value of 78.64. Among shrubs Murraya koengii was having maximum IVI value (139.66) and Lantana camara was co-dominant having IVI of 115.36 (Table 3).

    In Pahlu, Terminalia chebula was dominant tree species with IVI value of 128.40 and Pinus roxburghii was co-dominant tree species having IVI of 36.62. Murraya koenigii was dominant shrub species with IVI of 188.81 followed by Lantana camara with IVI of 111.19 (Table 4).

    In Makar, Terminalia chebula dominated among trees species with IVI value of 119.72 followed by Acacia catechu as co-dominant species with IVI of 67.90. Murraya koenigii was dominant shrub species with IVI of 152.56 followed by Lantana camara with IVI of 111.68 (Table 5).

    In Uled also Terminalia chebula dominated with IVI value of 128.64 followed by Acacia catechu with IVI of 97.39. Murraya koenigii was dominant shrub species with IVI of 162.97 followed by Lantana camara with IVI of 137.03 (Table 6).

    The values of tree species richness ranged in between 1.13 to 2.69 and shrub species richness range was 0.28 to 0.54 in natural populations. Tree species richness was highest in Naraina (2.69) and lowest in Uled (1.13) and shrub species richness was highest in two populations viz., Naraina and Makar (0.54) and lowest in Uled (0.28) (Table 7).

    This pattern of differences in basal area and IVI basal area different populations may be due to differences in habitat. Plants growing together have a shared relationship with nature and among themselves (Mishra et al., 1997). These interactions between different plants and their environment result in different types of vegetation occurring in different areas Sharma and Kant (2014); Kumar and Bhatt (2006); Tripathi et al. (2010), Similar results were obtained by Sharma and Thakur (2015), while studying ecological variation among natural populations of Terminalia chebula Retz. in Himachal Pradesh. The observed values for the diversity indices were within the limits stated by Sharma and Thakur (2016), Pandey (2001) and Kumar et al. (2010).

  • Conclusion

    Terminalia chebula Retz. was found as dominant tree species in its natural growing population while Murraya koenigii was found as dominant tree species. Keeping in view the huge demand of Harar fruits in national and international market there is need of its domestication for socio-economic upliftment of farming community. The species of trees and shrubs co-existing with natural population of Harar indicate that the areas where these associated species are growing naturally have good scope for raising commercial plantations of Harar. 


  • Curtis, J.T., 1959. The vegetation of Wisconsin. An Ordination of Plant Communities, University Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 657.

    Dymock, W., Warden, C.J.H., Hopper, D., 1976. Pharmacographica indica: a history of the principal drugs of vegetable origin, met within British India, Bishen Singh Mahedra Pal Singh, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, 1−5.

    Gower, S.T., Vogt, K.A., Grier, C.C., 1992. Carbon dynamics of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir: influence of water and nutrient availability. Ecological Monographs 62, 43−65.

    Kumar, J.I.N., Kumar, R.N., Bhoi, R.K., Sajish, P.R., 2010. Tree species diversity and soil nutrient status in three sites of tropical dry deciduous forest of western India. Tropical Ecology 51(2), 273−279.

    Kumar, M., Bhatt, V., 2006. Plant biodiversity andconservation of forests in foot hills of Garhwal Himalaya. Iyonia 11(2), 43−59.

    Magurran, R.A., 1988. Ecological diversity and its measurement. University Press, Cambridge, 179.

    Mishra, D., Mishra, T.K., Banerjee, S.K., 1997. Comparative phytosociological and soil physico-chemical aspects between managed and unmanaged lateritic land. Annals of Forestry 5(1), 16–25.

    Mishra, K.C., 1989. Manual of plant ecology (3rd Edn.). Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, India, 193.

    Pandey, P. K., 2001.Quantitative vegetation analysis as per aspect and altitude, and regeneration behaviour of tree species in Garhwal Himalayan forest. Annuls of Forest 9(1), 39−52.

    Phillips, B.A., 1959. Methods of vegetation study, Heavy Holt and Co Inc, New York, 159.

    Sharma, D., Thakur, S., 2015. Ecological Variation among Natural Populations of Terminalia chebula Retz. in District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. International Journal of Bio-resource and Stress Management 6 (6), 754−758.

    Sharma, D., Thakur, S., 2016. Ecological Variation among Natural Populations of Terminalia chebula Retz. in Sirmour and Una districts, Himachal Pradesh. International Journal of Farm Sciences 6(1), 140−147.

    Sharma, N., Kant, S., 2014. Vegetation structure, floristic composition and species diversity of woody plant communities in sub-tropical Kandi Shivaliks of Jammu, J&K, India. International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences 3(4), 382−391.

    Tripathi, O.P., Upadhaya, K., Tripathi, R.S., Pandey, H.N., 2010. Diversity, dominance and population structure of tree species along fragment-size gradient of a sub-tropical humid forest of northeast India. Research journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences 2(2), 97−105.

    Troup, R.S., 1921. Silviculture of Indian trees. International Book Depot, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, 1195.


Singh S, Sharma K, Sharma D. Phytosociological Studies on Natural Populations of Terminalia chebula Retz. in District Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh IJEP [Internet]. 28Apr.2020[cited 8Feb.2022];6(1):191-195. Available from: http://www.pphouse.org/ijep-article-details.php?art=218

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