Diospyros melanoxylon

Diospyros melanoxylon, the Coromandel ebony or East Indian ebony, is a species of flowering tree in the family Ebenaceae native to India and Sri Lanka; it has a hard, dry bark. Its common name derives from Coromandel, the coast of southeastern India. Locally it is known as temburini or by its Hindi name tendu. In Odisha, Jharkhand, and Assam, it is known as kendu. In Andhra Pradesh, and Telengana it is known as tuniki'. [3] The leaves can be wrapped around tobacco to create the Indian beedi,[4] which has outsold conventional cigarettes in India.[5] The olive-green fruit of the tree is edible[6]

Coromandel ebony
Bark of the Coromandel ebony
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ebenaceae
Genus: Diospyros
D. melanoxylon
Binomial name
Diospyros melanoxylon
  • Diospyros dubia Wall. ex A.DC.
  • Diospyros exsculpta Bedd.
  • Diospyros exsculpta Dalzell & Gibson
  • Diospyros montana B.Heyne ex A.DC.
  • Diospyros roylei Wall. ex A.DC.
  • Diospyros rubiginosa Roth
  • Diospyros tupru Buch.-Ham.
  • Diospyros wightiana Wall. nom. inval.


Tendu patta (leaf) collection

The leaf of the tree contains valuable flavones.[7] The pentacyclic triterpenes found in the leaves possess antimicrobial properties,[8] while the bark shows antihyperglycemic activity.[9] The bark of four Diospyros species found in India has been determined to have significant antiplasmodial effects against Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria in humans.[10]

Method of collection

Tendu leaves are used as a wrapper for beedi. During the summer, fresh leaves are produced by the suckers that emerge from the soil. This is also enhanced by lighting a fire beneath the Tendu tree. The fresh leaves are hand-picked by the tribals and dried in the sun for 10 days. This practice is seen in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh states of India. The State Government gives the license for collection and processing of the tendu leaves through tender every year.[11]

Culture and Mythology

Tendu, also known as Tiril, and Kendu has cultural and mythological reference as well. According to the Munda people, during the ancient Sengael Deaah (an event of raining fire) their predecessors took shelter in the tree hollow of the Tiril tree. Tiril(tendu) tree is considered not easily flammable. A tree hollow in the tiril tree is a usual sight as the tribes strike the trunk with big stones in order to make the ripened fruit fall. This repeated striking over time makes a hole in the tree.

Due to the non-flammable nature of the tree, after the plantation of paddy, the tribes plant a branch of it in the field in order to protect the crop from any events of Sengael Deaah in the future.[12]

Tendu tree is also used in making hockey sticks by the adivasis of Jharkhand and Odisha. A young and straight branch of the tree is heated in fire and slowly shaped into the curves of a hockey stick.

Many villages have been named after the location and presence of the tree in the neighbourhood. These include - Tiril Posi, Tiril, Tiril Haatu, Kenduda('Tendu' is also known as 'Kendu' in the South Chotanagpur region) in Jharkhand and the Kendhujhar district in Odisha


There is one named variety of this species, Diospyros melanoxylon var. tupru.[13]


  1. "Diospyros melanoxylon". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  2. "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
  3. http://harithaharam.telangana.gov.in/Silviculture%20of%20Species/Forest%20Seeds/045.htm
  4. Lal, Pranay (25 May 2009). "Bidi – A short history" (PDF). Current Science. Bangalore, India: Current Science Association. 96 (10): 1335–1337. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  5. "...bidis command 48 percent of the market while chewing tobacco commands 38 percent and cigarettes 14 percent..." Archived 6 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, "The Tax Treatment of Bidis", tobaccofreeunion.org
  6. "Diospyros melanoxylon - Useful Tropical Plants".
  7. NEW FLAVONOIDS FROM THE LEAVES OF DIOSPYROS MELANOXYLON, Uppuluri V. Mallavadhani and Anita Mahapatra
  8. Antimicrobial Activity of Some Pentacyclic Triterpenes and Their Synthesized 3-O-Lipophilic Chains, Uppuluri Venkata MALLAVADHANI,*, a Anita MAHAPATRA, a Kaiser JAMIL, b and Peddi Srinivasa REDDY, Biol. Pharm. Bull. 27(10) 1576—1579 (2004) Vol. 27, No. 10
  9. Antihyperglycemic effect of Diospyros melanoxylon (Roxb.) bark against Alloxan-induced diabetic rats Jadhav J. K*.Masirkar V. J., Deshmukh V. N.International Journal of PharmTech Research. CODEN( USA): IJPRIF ISSN 0974-4304, Vol.1, No.2, pp. 196–200, April–June 2009
  10. Investigation of Indian Diospyros Species for Antiplasmodial Properties, V. S. Satyanarayana Kantamreddi and Colin W. Wright. eCAM 2008;5(2)187–190
  11. "Working Plan of central Chanda forest division, Chandrapur" (PDF). mahaforest.nic.in. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  12. "Clipping of Prabhat Khabar - RANCHI - City". epaper.prabhatkhabar.com. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  13. "Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb. | Species".
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