AMTA
(Antidesma diandrum)

 

 

 Young developing fruits of amta

Family: Stilaginaceae

Synonyms: Antidesma acidum

Other names: Archal, dhakki, kundui

 

Amta is a fruit native to India.  It grows mostly in the tropical Himalayas from Kumaon eastwards to Norh Bengal and Sikkim.  It is also commonly found throughout in Eastern and Peninsular India ascending to an altitude of 1200 m.

            It bears purplish red fruits which are pleasantly acidic and are eaten by local people.

Description:

A large shrub or small tree, the young parts usually glabrous.

            Leaves thin, 5-133 cm by 2.5-5.0 cm, lanceolate, or elliptic lanceolate, or obovate, acute or acuminate, glabrous above, glabrous or slightly pubescent beneath, base acute; petioles 1-1.5 cm long; stipules 30 mm long, linear, acute.

 

Ripe amta fruits

 

            Flowers in long slender glabrous or pubescent racemes, both sexes pedicellate; bracts beneath the pedicels ovate, 1 mm long,; male flowers with a cup shaped calyx, 1.5 mm long, with 4  short obtuse lobes; stamens usually two, filaments 1.5 mm long, at the base of a glabrous disk; female flowers with a relatively stouter pedicel, calyx 1.m mm long, lobes rather deeper than in the male flowers; ovary glabrous, styles 2, short terminal.

            Fruit small, 4 mm wide, purplish red, edible.

Utilization:

Fruits are eaten. 

           The leaves are also pleasantly acidic and are cooked as a vegetable.  In Assam, the leaves are also made into a preserve.

           The leaves are also used as a shampoo for washing hair in Kerala, India.

Cultivation:

The plant grows wild only.  In spite of its being used for many purposes, it is not cultivated. 

 

 

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