Garcinia gummi-gutta: Plantation methods

Garcinia gummi-gutta (Cambogia gummigutta L.,)

CAMBOGE (Kudampuli)

(Garcinia gummi-gutta var. gummi-gutta)

Garcinia gummi-gutta (Cambogia gummigutta L.,)

Local names: Kodam-puli, Meen-puli, Pinenga, Pinaru, Koda-puli, Gorakka-puli, Kedaka-puli. 

Species description:

Trees, up to 25 m high with a rounded, dense canopy; bark smooth, black, exuding a yellow gum; branchlets horizontal and often slightly drooping, glabrous. Leaves simple, oblong or elliptic, rarely lanceolate, entire, glabrous, glossy, dark green with faint lateral nerves, acute or obtusely short acuminate at apex, narrowed into the petioles at base. Flowers white, pale white or greenish white, polygamous; male flowers in umbellate clusters, fascicled in the axils with 4, obovate, unequal sepals, 4 obovate or oblong, concave petals and 12-20, or more stamens, inserted on the prominent receptacles with bilocular anthers, basifixed and dehiscing vertically; female flowers solitary with numerous staminoides and ovoid or subglobose ovary and stigma rays spreading and free near to the base. Berries light yellow, fleshy, 6-8 grooved, depressed globose, with 6-8 seeds covered by succulent, white aril, pale brown, veined.


Moist deciduous forests and other areas in the midlands and hilly uplands, especially in the southern part of Kerala, often cultivated in homesteads; endemic to peninsular India from Karnataka southwards.


Flowering from January onwards and fruits ripen during May to September.

Garcinia, the camboge tree is a big sized glabrous and evergreen forest commonly seen in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Karnataka and in Sri Lanka. The tree is very much adapted to hill tops and plain lands alike. But its performance is best in river banks and valleys. It grows well in dry or occasionally water logged or flooded soils.

The economic part of the plant is its mature fruit rind, (-) hydroxy citric acid, attracts foreign markets for its use in medicines controlling obesity.


Amrutham, Haritham

Planting materials

Grafts prepared through soft wood grafting or side grafting and unhealthy seedlings raised in the nursery are used for cultivation. If seedlings are planted, 50-60 per cent will be male and female takes 10-12 years for bearing. Hence planting of grafts is advocated as they ensure maternal characters including early bearing tendency.

Propagation by seedlings

Selection of mother trees: Locate mother trees that give a steady annual yield with a mean fruit weight of 200-275 g, high acid and low tannin content. Collect seeds from freshly harvested and fully ripe fruits and wash in running water and spread in a thin layer under roof. By the 20th day, seeds will be ready for sowing. Sow seeds @ two per bag in polybags during the month of August-September. Usually seed start sprouting in the month of December, but the sprouts become visible above the soil surface only by February.          In order to avoid delayed germination, simple seed treatment methods can be employed.

Method 1: In this method, the processed seeds (after drying under shade) are given a mechanical treatment. Remove seed coats of such seeds using a sharp knife without injuring the ivory colored cotyledons afresh in poly-bags at a depth of 3 cm. Germination starts in 20-25b days after sowing.

Method 2: After removing the seed coats, treat the seeds with gibberellic acid @ 250 ppm for 6 hours. Sow the seeds in nursery bags and irrigate daily. Seeds germinate in 16-20 days.

Method 3: Second method followed by transfer of the seeds to a white polypropylene cover of size 20cm x 25cm along with 30-50ml of filtered water. Tie the poly-bag along with the air inside tightly using a rubber band. Such seeds germinate in 10-12 days after sowing. In poly-bag, about 500-750 seeds can be incubated at a time. Pick up the sprouted seeds and sow in the nursery bags kept under shade.

Keep the seedlings under shade. Irrigate them regularly on alternate days during a summer month. After 3-4 months, place the seedlings under direct sunlight to trigger robust growth. At this stage, apply FYM@ 50 g per bag. In six to seven months time, seedlings will be ready for planting. 

Propagation by grafting

Two types of grafting methods are employed viz. soft wood grafting and approach grafting.

Soft wood grafting

Select scions only from specific elite trees regular in bearing, which produce high yield of large and quality fruits.

Collection of scion: Select straight growing, healthy, young shoots emerging from the primary branches with whorled leaf arrangement. Cut them to a length of 6-10 cm and store in poly-bags under humid condition. Remove leaves partly and shape the cut end to a wedge of 3-4 cm length by giving slanting cuts on two opposite sides.

Preparation of rootstock: Stock plants having 3-4 mm stem thickness are ideal for grafting. Behead the selected plants at two nodes below the terminal bud and remove all the leaves at the graft union. Use scion and root-stock of same thickness for grafting.

Grafting: Insert the wedge of the scion into the cleft made on the rootstock and secure the graft joint firmly with a black polythene tape, 1.5-2 cm wide and 30 cm long.

Care in the nursery: Immediately after grafting, cover the plants with a transparent polypropylene cover and keep under shade. By the 30th day, grafts will establish and new leaves will start emerging. Remove the polythene cover and keep under shade. Water the grafts daily using rose-can or micro sprinkler. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from rootstock at frequent intervals. Three months after grafting the plants will be ready for planting in the main fields, leave the grafts under open condition in 10-15 days for hardening.

Approach grafting

Stock plants having 3-4 mm thickness are preferred and they are brought to the place where the mother tree is located. Grafting is done as in other crops and is kept intact for 45 days by which time union occurs. Graft is detached from the mother tree in three steps. The main disadvantage is that only a limited a limited number of grafts can be produced in this method. Forty-five days after grafting, thy will be ready for transferring to the main nursery for hardening. Grafts are to be watered daily using a rose-can or a micro-sprinkler. Leaf folding pests common in the nursery can be controlled by Beauveria bassiana or 1% neem oil emulsion. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from root-stock at frequent intervals. Once year old grafts can be used for field planting.

Field planting

The plants can be raised as a pure crop or as a mixed crop in coconut and arecanut gardens. Take pits of size 0.75 m x 0.75 m x 0.75 m in hard and laterite soils; 0.50 m x 0.50 m x 0.50 m in sandy and alluvial soils, at a spacing of 4 m x 4 m for grafts and 7 m x 7 m for seedlings. In slopes of 15 per cent or more, for planting grafts, rows are spaced at 5 to 5.5 m and 3.5 m between trees in a row. For planting seedlings, rows are spaced at 8 to 12 m and at 6 to 8 m for trees in a row. Planting is generally done at the onset of monsoon showers. Under existing coconut plantation of 25 years and above, spacing shall be so adjusted that it should alternate with the palms in the rows. Under Kuttanad conditions, where bunds and channels alternate, planting can be done in between two palms. Fill the pits with top soil, 5 kg compost or well decomposed cattle manure and 10% neem oil garlic emulsion to avoid white ant attack before planting. The graft union shall remain just above the ground level. Provide support to the young plants. One month after planting, gently remove the polyethene tape around the graft union.

Management of plantation

Clean the field free of bushes and thick shades. Weed once in three months and mulch the basin with black polythene or dry leaves to avoid drying.


Apply 10 kg cattle manure or compost per seedling or graft during the first year. Gradually, increase the quantity so that a well-grown tree of 15 years and above recipes 50 kg of organic manure per year.


Grafts will grow fast from the second year onwards. Give strong support with casuarina poles at this stage. By fifth year, the tree will have 3-4m height. At this stage, height of the plant may be maintained at 3.5 to 4 m and by seventh year at 4 to 4.5 m by pruning.

Pests and diseases

Hard scales and beetles are found to infest the crop. Hard scales desap the leaves and tender shoots. Both the adult beetles and their grubs defoliate the crop inflicting heavy loss of yield. Incidence of hoppers is observed on grafts and large trees. This causes withering of leaves, drying up of branches and yield loss. Sooty mould is seen associated with hard scales. Seedling blight in the nursery stage is very common. Control it by drenching nursery nursery bed with 1% Bordeaux mixture. In grafts and large trees, sometimes, fungal thread blights have been observed to cause leaf and twig blight=. Adopt proper pruning and spray 1% Bordeaux mixture


Seedlings start bearing at the age of 10-12 years. Grafts start bearing from the third year onwards and will attain full bearing at the age of 12-15 years. Flowering occurs in January-March and fruits mature in July. There are reports of off-season bearers, which bear two times a year, i.e., during January-July and September-February. Mature fruits, which are orange yellow in color, drop off from the tree. Harvest mature fruits manually before they fall. Immediately after harvest, wash the fruits in running water and separate the fruit rind for processing.


Separated fruit rind is first sun dried and then either smoke -dried or oven-dried at 70-80-degree C. In order to increase the storage life and to impart softness, mix the dried rind with common salt @ 150 g and coconut oil @ 50 ml/kg of dried rind.

Garcinia powder: Drying of Garcinia cambogia juice into powdered particles gives a considerable reduction in volume. It is easy to use and is an effective method for prolonging the shelf life. Powder from fresh fruit juice along with standardized limit of additive, followed by spray drying could get powder which packed in aluminum pouches gives a storability of above 7 months with good restitution properties.

Optimized parameters of production are spray drying at inlet air temperature of 180-degree C with the atomizer speed of 22000 rpm and feed rate as 5.51 per hour. The powder is packed in LDPE inserted in aluminum foil pouches and can be stored for seven months with good reconstitution properties (wetting time, 80S and solubility index < 0.1 mm.

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