Tamala, Mysore gamboge , sour mangosteen , false mangosteen, Yellow mangosteen, Sans: Tamala, Tapinijha; Hindi: Dampel, Tamal; Beng: Chalata, Tamal; Guj: Karamala, Ota; Mar: Jharambi, Ota; Tel: Ivarumidi, Tamalamu; Tam: Kulavi, Malaipachai, Mukki, Tamalam; Kan: Devagarige; Mal: Anavaya; Oriya: Cheoro, Sitambu; Nepal: Chunyel;



GARCINIA XANTHOCHYMUS: During my stay at Tezpur I came to know about different species of Garcinia. Most common of them all is Garcinia xanthochymus. In Assam it is known as Tepol-tenga. It is known as Dempel in Bangla. It is found in E.Himalayas in Sikkim and northern W.Bengal upto an altitude of 5000ft. And fairly common in the evergreen forests of Assam. The raw fruit, temptingly beautiful, is very acid, especially in the fleshy rind. I saw only one tree of this species at Cooch Behar. Attaching two images of the same.
(Ref :Edible Wild Plants of The Himalayas, By Badhwar and Fernandez)


The Tamala – Garcinia xanthochymus:

  1. The long search for the Tamala – the most famous but the least known tree – has ended. Famous because it is glorified by celebrated poets of sixth century, Kalidasa, down to twentieth century poet Tagore. For devotees of Krishna this is sacred as it epitomizes the divine personality. Such a famous tree is not known to anybody whom i come across.
Recently i have seen this tree in the Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, quite comfortably thanks to the courtesy of the Director, Dr. Debnath. I am attaching a few photos of the tree and its parts provided by Basant K. Singh.
I am adding a synopsis of the long investigation extended to five years. If any one is interested he or she may read the following :-
It all started in a get-together. A friend was reading the Gospels of Sri Ramakrishna (Kathamrita). Tamala was mentioned in the text. I asked my friends-‘ do you know Tamala’. Nobody knows. The hostess took out a dictionary and found the name – ‘it is a tree similar to Gaab’ [Eng. Gaub persimon – Diospyros peregrina]. The search for Tamala began. In a reciprocal request i urged … to help me. He put a notice. Information poured in from many, in particular from … All these boil down to Cinnamomum tamala. Its leaf called Tejpata is daily used in culinary preparation. Interestingly in Gujrati it is called ‘tamal patra’. This tree grows wild in tropical and subtropical Himalayas, Khasi and Jaintia hills.
Ayurvedacharya Shibkali Bhattacharya is an authority on plants. He specified Tamala is Garcinia xanthochymus(syn. G. tinctoria). Sometime back i brought this to the notice of our group members. Its Sanskrit, Hindi, and Bengali name is Tamala, Eng. name Sour mangosteen, false mangosteen, Gambose. Sanskrit , Hindi or Bengali namesake may also refer to other species or genus viz. G. morella, Cinnamomum tamala, Diospyros montana.

The sacred Tamala of Vrindavan is yet to be conclusively identified. George Harrison and Srila Prabhupada wrote some fifty pages on Tamal and Vrindavan. They say ‘Radaharani in separation was embracing the Tamala tree. – – And they say that in Vrindavan only there are four trees left.’ It is possible. Since the time of Sri Chaitanya pilgrims from different parts took a plant on their return. One Swami of Belur Math brought a plant from Vrindavan some thirty years back. I took a twig and put it before the members. Experts say it belongs to Diospyros montana. Interestingly its Sanskrit name is Tamala. Since the fruit or flower of this particular tree not seen a conclusion could not be arrived at.

Thanks for reopening the thread. Few months back I received Sanskrit Pandulipi (Manuscript) from Krishna Devotee of Nepal which describes Tam, Tamal, Tamala, Tamalini, Tamalak, Tamal Patra, Tamali with different Shlokas. From reading it, it seems that neither Garcinia nor Diospyros is suitable candidate for it. Sacred Tamala was once used in Yagyas specially Soma Yagyas. And also in Yagyas for Healing. 

In continuation of previous post.

Bhartendu Harishchandra has written about Tamal Tree

तरनि तनूजा तट तमाल तरुवर बहु छाए।

झुके कूल सों जल परसन हित मनहु सुहाए।

I did a bit of study on Tamaal a decade ago. It is your co-operation which helped me to get a lot of information through your members. Thanks to all of them.

Ultimately it is Dr Basant Singh who took me to the Tamal tree in the Botanical Garden and later sent me the snaps i attached.

This brief account dated 5/6/12 is the gist of my effort at that time which was lost to me, You have revived that. Accept my grateful appreciation.

Thank you … I saw TAMAL in my childhood in East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh). I started searching for the scientific name of the tree in1993 when I was in Lucknow. The Useful Plants of India (CSIR publication) has all the names of TAMAL as mentioned by Mr Subrata Mahapatra. In 1994 I attended a WWF work shop at Ashoka Hotel in Delhi, where some people from Brindaban brought a sapling of Tamal. Immediately my mind reeled back to my childhood memory, as the sapling resembles my TAMAL. Unfortunately the delegate members from Brindaban could not tell the scientific name. There are two trees at this place (Cooch Behar). One big tree is in the famous Madn-Mohan temple compound. Everybody knows it as TAMAL. There is another tree at Tufangunj in the compound of a temple. These trees are definitely Garcinia. I know many Garcinia species which I have seen at Assam. TAMAL of ancient and modern literature is definitely Diospyros montana (according to The Useful Plants of India this tree in Sanskrit is TUMALA).

I came across this interesting thread which highlights and was struck by how relevant this discussion is to modern situation also.

What’s in a name ? Plenty of course, since the id is coded into the binomial.
In ancient literature quite often same or similar names were used (in different context) for different plants: Thus
From published name lists  on IBIN   and from the Sanskrit
Tamala   तमाल   Garcinia xanthoxylum and G.morella . : ( as concluded by …)
Kalaskandha  कालस्कन्ध   : Diospyros melano.: &/  OR Ficus glomeratus or
तमालपत्त्र Cinnamomum tamal:   
तमालपत्त्र :  Leaf of C.tamala or G.xanthochymus/ morella

The id of the plant/twig brought by Swami by … has been identified as Diospyros sp.

230713 ASP 126 : Attachments (1). 2 posts by 2 authors.

Please ID this tree with fruits. Garcinia sp ? Photo was taken in Sri Lanka in Dec 2012.

Garcinia xanthochymus Clusiaceae



Tree For ID : Lalbagh,Bangalore : 220913 : AK-2 : Attachments (2). 3 posts by 2 authors.

A tree seen at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore on 18/3/13.

Saw lots of buds on it, no flowers.

Garcinia species?

Garcinia xanthochymus, Hook. f. <=> Mysore Gambooge Tree



Hypericaceae, Cluciaceae Dipterocarpaceae fortnight 03 :  1 post by 1 author. Attachments (2).

Garcinia xanthochymus Hook.f. ex T.Anderson, cultivated in a home garden near Mangalore, the leaves are largest n this species when compare with all other Garcinia Spp


Garcinia xanthochymus from Mumbai.

Nice pictures of Garcinia xanthocymus


Attached are pictures of Garcinia xanthochymus captured at Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai in January 2014.

Kindly validate.

Yes it is Garcinia xanthochymus

To me it seems to be Garcinia xanthochymus.

Yes, This should be Garcinia xanthochymus.

I’ll appreciate very much if you can send me enlarged or clear photos of flowers of G. xanthochymus and those of Diospyros montana.

Thanks … for validating the ID..

I, unfortunately, do not have the pics of the flowers…


Agumbe :: Garcinia FOR VALIDATION / ID :: DVJAN58 : 3 posts by 2 authors. 3 images.

Agumbe Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka

Date: 26 DEC 2014 Altitude: about 700 m asl
Small tree along village road, most probably planted.
I may be mistaking in the first place of it being Garcinia. Please validate.

Garcinia ¿ species ? … (family: Clusiaceae)

Garcinia xanthochymus.

Fwd: Tamal tree : 1 post by 1 author.
I wish to know any member in the group has photographed the Tamal tree in Vrindavan. There is lot of confusion on the correct ID of the tre. I checked e-flora site as well (Indiantreepix).
I am also providing the link on Tamal trees.
I wish some members would come out with a clarification / ID of the tree.

Thanks, … Here is some discussion on this at the following pages:
Phoebe cooperiana ? : 8 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (4)

Location Papumpare district Arunachal Pradesh
Please identify the Phoebe species

Very little details or pictures are available on net.
Fruits look different from the download available at
There is another specimen (high resolution) of flowering plant at

Another pdf (mainly text) available at http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/05_chapter%201.pdf

I think this is Garcinia sp.

Thanks for the photographs. Give up some time to identify the specimens. It may not be Phoebe. Anyway let us take little more time.

You can see Garcinia sp. [Clusiaceae]

The photographs of the flowering specimen you sent is identified as Garcinia xanthochymus Hook. F ex. T. Anderson. bearing young fruits.

Tamal tree : 4 posts by 3 authors.

Just found your post below from 2008 while doing a Google Search on the Tamal tree. 
Is it (Garcinia xanthochymusMysore Gamboge
As mentioned here 

I am a novice tree planter who interacts very occasionally. This tamale tree is reportedly only in 3 places in India as seen from A Tamil Notice Board in a place called Thennangur Temple near Vandavashi. It is worth visiting by enthusiasts.
The temple has Orissa Architecture and dedicated to Lord Panduranga. The walls of this temple are decorated with Fibre glass Images. Lots of information about this temple is in Google search.
Any interested person can speak to me on phone …
This place is about 100 Km’s from Chennai






Garcinia xanthochymus : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (5)

Garcinia xanthochymus seedling
Seed collected from roadside tree in KA last summer. Near Madikeri district.
Dormant for about 2 months

Unexpected  germination…

Garcinia xanthochymus Hook. f. SN3220 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (2)
Wild as well as cultivated tree, leaves large, drooping and showy, fruit acid to taste, suitable for making juice. from Calicut area.

I am looking for information about Mysore Gamboge (yellow mangosteen) tree. I want to protect this species and distribute it in western ghats, where they were earlier very common, but slowly becoming difficult to sight. Can someone please help me find it?
I’d be willing to pay any costs for transportation/ foraging etc to gather it.

Disclaimer : I’m a garcenia fan.

Check this link for on line supply:  

Also try with Kerala Forest Department.

It’s out of stock

Inf. at Garcinia xanthochymus may be of some help in finding it.

Check with Kerala Forest Department Nurseries.


Clusiaceae: Garcinia xanthochymus Hook. f. ex T. Anderson: 1 image.
location/date: Thirthahalli, Shimoga Distr., Karnataka, July 1997