(Manilkara hexandra)

A portion of a large khirni tree

Family: Sapotaceae

Synonym: Mimusops hexandra

Khirni is a small to medium sized tree evergreen tree, 3-4 m high, with a spreading crown and straight massive bole.  It is very commonly found growing wild in the dry evergreen forests in Central India and the Deccan Peninsula of India. 

Khirni fruits displayed for sale on a fruit seller’s cart

            Khirni bears small 1-2 seeded fruits which turn yellow at maturity.  The fruits are 1×1.5 cm and round to ellipsoid in shape.   

 A young tree of khirni in botanical garden, Malang, Indonesia

            Khirni fruits are very sweet and liked by people.  Khirni is therefore cultivated on a small scale in gardens, especially, near big cities where there exists a good market for the fruits.  In fact, khirni fruits are considered to be a seasonal delicacy and sell at fairly high price in Indian metros.

A young developing fruit of khirni

             Seeds of khirni contain 25% oil which is considered demulcent and emollient.

            Khirni has a strong and dense timber that is put to several uses in villages.  Leaves are used as a fodder for cattle. 

Khirni flower

            Khirni tree also yields a gum.  The bark contains 10 per cent tannins and can be used for tanning purposes.  It is also used in fevers and as a general tonic.  The bark also retards the fermentation the fermentation of toddy (a wine made from palm sap in Indian villages).

            Khirni is used as a rootstock for sapota in India.