• Poison berry (Solanum indicum) Tamil name: Papparapalli

It is a herb with spines found growing all over Tamilnadu. The half-ripe fruits are used in the preparation of curries and chutneys and also used as a vegetable.

  • Prickly amaranth (Amaranthus spinosus) Tamil name: Mullukeerai

It is an erect woody herb, commonly found growing on wastelands and cultivated land. It grows well in moist damp soil. The leaves are used as a green vegetable.

  • Indian fig (Ficus racemosa ) Tamil name : Atthi

It is a large evergreen tree found growing wildly in the garden. The tender fruits are used to prepare vegetable curries.

  • Potato yam (Dioscorea pentaphylla) Tamil name: Kavala kizhangu

It is a twining climber whose bulbous tubers are cooked as a vegetable.

  • Wild Date Palm (Phoenix sylvestris (Linn.) Roxb.) Tamil name: Eecham

It is a medium-sized palm commonly found growing in the wild. The fruit is collected and eaten.

  • Wood apple (Limonia acidissima (Linn.) Swingle) Tamil name : Vila

It is a deciduous tree found in tropical forests, wastelands, and home gardens. The fruits are large and globose with a hard woody covering. The sweet aromatic pulp is edible.


  • Indian palm (Borassus flabellifer) Tamil name : Panai

It is a tall palm found all over the tropical region of the country. It yields several products of commercial importance. The kernel of the fruits is eaten for its cooling effect; the tender root can be eaten after boiling; the trees are tapped for toddy; palmyra juice is made into jaggery.

  • Hill mango (Commiphora caudata (White & Arn. Engl.) Tamil name : Kiluvai

It is a shrub or a small tree used for fencing. The tender leaves and the fruits are edible and are eaten as a pickle.

  • Field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) Tamil name: Pachaarisi kaalaan

It is found growing in cool places with rich humus content especially after a rainy day. The aerial white fruits of the fungus are gathered before they mature (change colour from white to brown).  It is an excellent source of energy and vitamins.


  • Ceylon iron wood (Manilkara hexandra Dub.) Tamil name : Paalai

It is a small evergreen tree found growing naturally in tropical forests. The fresh fruits are eaten by the local people.

  • Bermuda Butter-cup (Oxalis corniculata) Tamil name : Aarakeerai

It is a herb found in paddy fields and the leaves are used as a green vegetable.


  • Heart’s pea (Cardiospermum halicacabum) Tamil name: Modakathan

It is found growing over fences and even on other trees or shrubs. The leaves are used as a green vegetable.

  • Prickly leaved solanum (Solanum trilobatum) Tamil name: Thudhuvalai

The leaves are fried in ghee and consumed as a cure for cough. They can also be used to make chutney.

  • Adamant creeper (Cissus quadrangularis) Tamil name: Pirandai

It is a creeper found growing over fences and bushes sometimes on trees. The tender shoots are used in curries and chutneys.

  • Mountain ebony (Bauhinia tomentosa) Tamil name: Thiruvaathi

It is a small tree found in most gardens and temple complexes. The tender leaves are made into a chutney along with tamarind, red chilly and salt.

  • Manila tamarind (Pithecellobium dulce) Tamil name: Kodukkapuli

This tree is found in the deciduous forest and wastelands. The kernel of the fruit is eaten by children and is even sold in the market.


Source: Eco News, Vol.8, No.2 (July – September), 2002.

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