Pongamia pinnata L Merr

Synonymy: Cytisus pinnatus L., Pongamia glabra Vent.

Common names: Karanja (Sanskrit); mempari (Malay).

[From Malabar, pongam = Pongamia pinnata and from Latin, pinnatus = feathered]

Physical description: It is a coastal tree which grows in the geographical zone spanning Malaysia to Polynesia. Leaves: pinnate and stipulate. The folioles are 5-7, opposite, thinly coriaceous, oblong-ovate and 6 cm-

10 cm x 3cm-5cm. The flowers are arranged in axillary racemes. The calyx is campanulate. The corolla is light purple and much exerted, the standard is broad, the keel obtuse, and the petals are cohering at the tip. The stamens are monadelphous, the upper filament free below. The anthers are oblong and versatile. The ovary is subsessile and contains 2 to several ovules. The style is incurved and the stigma capitate. The pods are woody, flattened, oblong, indehiscent, and 6 cm x 2.5 cm-3 cm. The seeds are oily (Fig. 165).

Fig. 165. Pongamia pinnata (L.) Merr.

Pharmaceutical interest: An extract of the root given intraperitonneally to rodents displays anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties at 50 mg/Kg (Singh RK et a/., 1997). The oil expressed from the seeds inhibits the growth of a large number of pathogenic bacteria at 500 ^g/mL (Baswa M et a/., 2001). An ethanolic extract of Pongamia pinnata (L.) Merr. destroys the P/asmodium species cultured in vitro (Simonsen HT eta/., 2001). Note that the plant is known to elaborate a series of furanoflavonoid glycosides (Ahmad G et a/., 2004).

Continue reading here: Family Elaeagnaceae A L de Jussieu 1789 nom conserv the Oleaster Family

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