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Indigenous Uses of Plants among Forest-dependent Communities of Seijosa, Arunachal Pradesh

Acharya Balkrishna, Bhasker Joshi, Anupam Srivastava, B. K. Shukla, Rama Shankar, Amit Kumar, Aqib, Aashish Kumar, Uday Bhan Prajapati and Rajesh Kumar Mishra

  • Page No:  064 - 080
  • Published online: 26 Feb 2022
  • DOI: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.23910/2/2022.0450

  • Abstract
  •  bhaskar.joshi@prft.co.in

The present paper explores the dependence of local population of Seijosa circle of Pakke-Kessang district, Arunachal Pradesh on the phytoresources available here. Local population of Sejiosa circle has their unique system of resource management. They are directly dependent on their surroundings for timber forest products (TFPs) and non timber forest products (NTFPs). This area is rich in vascular plant diversity which direcly or indirectly supports wild life also. In present study total 365 plant species belonging to 272 genera and 95 families have been recorded, which are utilized by natives of this area in the form of beverage, broom making, canes, condiment / spices, craft, dye, edible (fruit), fiber, fodder, fuel, medicinal, oil, ornamental, paper pulp, resin, tannin, timber, vegetable, etc.

Keywords :   Arunachal Pradesh, medicinal uses, phytoresources, Seijosa circle

  • Introduction

    Seijosa is situated in Pakke-Kessang district of Arunachal Pradesh (India). The total population of the Arunachal Pradesh spreading over 25 districts is about 13,83,727 (Census, 2011). The state is comprised of about 26 major tribes like Nyishi, Apatani, Adi, Tagin, Monpa, Nocte, Mishimi, Idu-mishmi etc., and over 110 sub-tribes inhabiting in different parts of the state (Pandey et al.,1999; Perme et al., 2015). It is a transition zone between Assam vally and Eastern Himalaya, which is considered to be luxuriant in floral diversity and has been recognized as the 25th biodiversity hotspot in the world (Chowdhery, 1999). Publication of Chowdheryet al. (1996, 2008, 2009), Tag et al. (2012), Ambrish (2013), Dash and Singh (2017) provides the baseline data on the Angiosperm diversity of the state. The major ethnic group found is Nyishi tribe in Seijosa with population of over 10,000 (Census 2011) used phytoresources for their daily requirement in different forms as Beverage, Broom making, Canes, Condiment / Spices, Craft, Dye, Edible (fruit), Fiber, Fodder, Fuel, Medicinal, Oil, Ornamental, Paper Pulp, Resin, Tannin, Timber, Vegetable, etc. Tag and Das (2004), Ali and Ghosh (2006), Angami et al. (2006), Tangjang et al. (2011), Jeri et al. (2011), Shankar and Rawat (2012), Perme et al. (2015), Murtem and Chaudhry (2016), Jeyaprakash et al. (2017) and Danggen et al. (2018) conducted ethnobotanical study among various tribal communities of Arunachal Paradesh. However, Srivastava et al. (2010), Yakang et al. (2013), Singh and Asha (2017), Lyngdoh et al. (2016), Lungphi et al. (2018) and Balkrishna et al. (2019, 2021) studied traditional knowledge among different tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh. The current survey recorded 365 plant species belonging to 272 genera and 95 families through systematic collection highlighting the utilization of various plant species by local natives and hence finding out the phytoresources in Seijosa circle of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Materials and Methods

    The present study was conducted during 2018-2019 in Seijosa circle under Pakke-Kessang district of Arunachal Pradesh. This area is a Tropical Evergreen Forest (1B/C1, 1B/C2) region falling under eastern Himalaya at an elevation of 300-550 m a.s.l. lies between the latitude 26°40’-27020’N and longitude 93°-93°12’E (Figure 1) (Champion and Seth, 1968). Maximum-minimum temperature recorded at the foothills of Seijosa varies from 14-25°C in the month of January to 25-36°C in June. Heavy rainfall occurs in between April-October and November-January in the dormant period for plants. Average rainfall is 3742 mm and relative humidity varies from 32% to 93%.

    Authors interacted with local people to know about the phytoresources and good specimens (those bearing flowers and/or fruits) of all the economic plants identified by the local guides were collected as voucher specimens during the field work following guided methodology (Jain and Rao, 1977). Each specimen was recorded with scientific and/or local name as far as possible. Information was also supported with photographs of the sites, individual plants and the useful parts. Identification of the plants was made as per available literature on regional floras and Flora of British India as well as matching with the herbarium sheets available on Kew websites. The identified herbarium sheets were deposited at Patanjali Research Foundation Herbarium (PRFH) Haridwar (Uttarakhand) for future reference. The scientific names of the plants were updated from IPNI, Tropicos. After extensive survey, the phytoresources of Seijosa circle have been enumerated in Table 3. Botanical name, family, habit, common/vernacular name, plant parts used along with medicinal and other uses have also been given.

  • Results and Discussion

    In present study total 365 plant species belonging to 272 genera and 95 families have been recorded, which are in use by natives of the study area in the form of beverage, broom making, canes, condiment / spices, craft, dye, edible (fruit), fiber, fodder, fuel, medicinal, oil, ornamental, paper pulp, resin, tannin, timber,vegetable, etc (Table 1).

    The highest number of species used by the natives are from the family Poaceae contribute maximum [27 (19 species of grass and 08 species of woody grasses)] species followed by Fabaceae (20), Asteraceae (16), Malvaceae (15), Lamiaceae (14), Rubiaceae (11), Cucurbitaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Urticaceae (10 each), Amaranthaceae, Lauraceae, Solanaceae (9 each) Apocynaceae, Moraceae (8 each), Araceae, Arecaceae, Fagaceae (7 each), Acanthaceae, Phyllanthaceae, Rutaceae (6 each) and Anacardiaceae, Commelinaceae, Dioscoreaceae, Piperaceae, Polygonaceae, Zingiberaceae (5 each) (Table 2). Solanum L. was the dominant genus used with 8 specis followed by Ficus L. (6 species), Piper L. (5), Bambusa Schreb., Begonia L., Boehmeria Jacq., Calamus L., Castanopsis (D. Don) Spach, Dendrocalamus Nees, Dioscorea L., Persicaria Mill., Ziziphus Mill. (3 species each). The most utilized plant species are herbs (including plants of Poaceae) (115), followed by trees (111), shrubs (63), climbers (50), under-shrubs (16), lianas (7) and epiphytes (3) (Figure 2.).

    Most of the species have medicinal value (226 species) followed by fodder (55 species), vegetable (50 species), edible (43 species) & ornamental (43 species each), timber (37 species), fuel (34 species), dye (12 species), fiber (10) species, condiment / spices, paper pulp (9 species each), craft (6 species), canes (4 species), oil (3 species), beverage, resin (2 species each), broom making & tannin yielding (1 species each), etc. (Table 3). Mostly whole plant is used by natives followed by leaf, stem, root and flowers.

    Mostly whole plant is used by natives followed by leaf, stem, root and flowers.

    The highly important medicinal plants of the locality were Aesculus assamica Griff., Ageratum conyzoides (L.) L., Alpinia malaccensis (Burm. f.) Roscoe, Alpinia nigra (Gaertn.) Burtt, Amomum maximum Roxb., Aphanamixis polystachya (Wall.) R.Parker, Aquilaria malaccensis Lam., Areca catechu L., Bombax ceiba L., Callicarpa arborea Roxb., Chenopodium album L., Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle, Dioscorea pentaphylla L., Dioscorea alata L., Dioscorea deltoidea Wall. ex Griseb., Euphorbia hirta L., Garcinia pedunculata Roxb. ex Buch.-Ham., Hellenia speciosa (J.Koenig) S.R.Dutta, Houttuynia cordata Thunb., Leucas aspera (Willd.) Link, Mussaenda roxburghii Hook. f., Oroxylum indicum (L.) Kurz, Piper attenuatum Buch.-Ham. ex Miq., Schima wallichii (DC.) Korth., Solanum indicum L., Styrax serrulatus Roxb., Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam., Toxicodendron succedaneum (L.) Kuntze, Urena lobata L., etc. which are used by local people for curing various ailments. Areca catechu L. and Cocos nucifera L. were important plants for natives and used as a source of tannins, medicine, fiber and fruits. The tender leaves of Camellia sinensis var. assamica (J.W. Mast.) Kitam. is highly prized as a source of tea and affects the rural economy as it is cultivated here in large scale.

    The most common fodder yielding plants are Begonia palmata D.Don, Commelina paludosa Blume, Cyanotis cristata (L.) D.Don, Cyathula prostrata (L.) Blume, Digitaria ciliaris (Retz.) Koeler, D. sanguinalis (L.) Scop., Dysphania ambrosioides (L.) Mosyakin & Clemants, Gnaphalium pensylvanicum Willd., Mecardonia procumbens (Mill.) Small, Polygonum microcephalum D. Don, Persicaria posumbu (Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don) H.Gross, Persicaria capitata (Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don) H.Gross, Spermacoce ocymoides Burm. f., Stellaria media (L.) Vill., Torenia violacea (Azaola ex Blanco) Pennell, Vicia hirsuta (L.) Gray, Youngia japonica (L.) DC., Zea mays L., Ziziphus apetala Hook.f., Z. xylopyrus (Retz.) Willd., etc.

    The root, corm, rhizome, tender shoot, stem, bulbils, leaves, fruits and seeds of Acmella calva (DC.) R.K.Jansen, Amaranthus spinosus L., A. viridis L., Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam., Bambusa tulda Roxb., Basella alba L., Begonia griffithiana (A. DC.) Warb., B. hatacoa Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don, B. silhetensis (A. DC.) C.B. Clarke, Bombax ceiba L., Brassica nigra (L.) K.Koch, Chenopodium album L., Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott, Cucumis melo L., C. sativus L., Cucurbita maxima Duchesne, Dioscorea pentaphylla L., D. alata L., D. belophylla (Prain) Voigt ex Haines, D. deltoidea Wall. ex Griseb., Elatostema sessile J.R.Forst. & G.Forst., Floscopa scandens Lour., Houttuynia cordata Thunb., Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl., Leucas aspera (Willd.) Link, Luffa cylindrica (L.) M.Roem., Sonerila maculata Roxb., Momordica charantia L., Musa × paradisiaca L., Oxalis corniculata L., Pouzolzia rugulosa (Wedd.) Acharya & Kravtsova,  P. zeylanica (L.) Benn., Solanum nigrum L., S. aethiopicum L., S. lycopersicum L., S. melongena L., etc. were consumed raw or cooked or taken directly as vegetable. The trunk and wood of Aesculus assamica Griff., Alseodaphne petiolaris (Meisn.) Hook.f., Archidendron clypearia (Jack) I.C. Nielsen, Bambusa griffithiana Munro, B. tulda Roxb., B. nutans Wall. ex Munro, B. pallida Munro, Bauhinia variegata L., Castanopsis indica (Roxb. ex Lindl.) A. DC., Dalbergia lanceolaria L.f., Dillenia indica L., Gmelina arborea Roxb. ex. Sm., Gynocardia odorata R. Br., Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers., Magnolia baillonii Pierre, Magnolia hodgsonii (Hook. f. & Thomson) H. Keng, Mangifera indica L., Pterospermum acerifolium (L.) Willd., Quercus semiserrata Roxb., Sterculia villosa Roxb., etc. were used as timber.

    The bamboo species which are used extensively are Bambusa griffithiana Munro, B. pallida Munro, B. nutans Wall. ex Munro, B. tulda Roxb., Dendrocalamus giganteus Munro, D. hamiltonii Nees & Arn. ex Munro, D. longispathus (Kurz) Kurz, D. membranaceus Munro  etc. However, the Dendrocalamus hamiltonii occur naturally only in areas of lower elevation and cultivated by few people around their dwelling.

    The people living in this region have been leading an intricate life and mostly dependent on the forest plants. They have vast knowledge of plants and used it in various forms like food, medicinal, fodder, fuel, timber, gum, resin, etc. during popular festivals, rituals and functions. The natives of the region consume variety of wild forest produce chiefly tubers of different yams and various leaves, fruits, seeds, roots, flowers and sometimes whole plant. They even take various poisonous roots, as they know the art of purification and removing poison from them. The tribal community of the region possess unique ancient traditional and cultural heritage of using wild forest products as food and for other daily requirements. Naturally, they have plenty of knowledge about the wild edible plants and their utilization. The locally harvested plant parts are regularly sold in the local market. Also, all the edible plants are not available in one area, so the venders collect them from different areas for marketing (Plates 1−4). Angami  et al. (2006) reported 118 wild edible plants from different regions of Arunachal Pradesh. In his study Artocarpus sp., Averrhoa carambola, Bamboo sp., Calamus spp., Clerodendrum sp., Colocasia sp., Elaeagnus sp., Garcinia sp., Morus sp., Phyllanthus sp., Prunus sp., Solanum sp., Syzygium sp.and Zizyphus sp.are commonly grown and are in various stages of domestication in Arunachal Pradesh. Srivastava et al.(2010) in their studies on indigenous biodiversity of Apatani plateau reported about 100 species used by the Apatani and adjacent Nyshi communities. Yakang et al. (2013) reported 111 species of common and traditional non-timber forest products yielding plants under 58 families and 95 genera used by Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Singh & Asha (2017) reported 63 wild edible fruits belonging to 33 families from Arunachal Pradesh. Lyngdoh et al. (2016) reported 52 wild edible fruits species belonging to 33 families from Arunachal Pradesh. Lungphi et al. (2018) reported 51 Wild edible plants belonging to 33 families used by the Tangsa community in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Balkrishna et al. (2019) reported 43 highly economic ferns and fern-allies belonging to 17 families from Seijosa forest area of Arunachal Pradesh used by local people in different forms. Based on the local preferences and high commercial feasibility, Aquilaria malaccensis Lam., Areca catechu L., Bambusa Schreb., Calamus L., Cocos nucifera L., Dendrocalamus Nees and Magnolia L. have been identified, which can be cultivated and managed in various agricultural systems. The efficient management of the selected species growing luxuriantly in the locally prevalent climatic conditions may become the source of regular revenue generation, particularly for the poor section of the community.

  • Conclusion

    On the basis of above study, it is concluded that flora of Sejiosa, Arunachal Pradesh has a number of plant species, which are useful to mankind in various ways. For the first time, the detailed study was conducted to know the various phytoresources of Sejiosa. These resources, if properly managed, will have the potential to enhance the rural income and also reduce population pressure on the forest.

  • Acknowledgement

    Authors are grateful to Swami Ramdev Ji of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar for providing all the necessary facilities for this research work. Also thanks are due to Dr. G.S. Rawat, Wild Life Institute of India, Dehradun for his help and support in identification of plants. Our special thanks to the natives of Seijosa circle for providing all the necessary information and help during the field work.


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Balkrishna A, Joshi B, Srivastava A, Shukla BK, Shankar R, Kumar A, Aqib , Kumar A, Prajapati UB, Mishra RK. Indigenous Uses of Plants among Forest-dependent Communities of Seijosa, Arunachal Pradesh IJEP [Internet]. 26Feb.2022[cited 8Feb.2022];9(1):064-080. Available from: http://www.pphouse.org/ijep-article-details.php?art=315

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