Population change of Trillium govanianum (Melanthiaceae) amid altered indigenous harvesting practices in the Indian Himalayas

Source of Publication

Journal of Ethnopharmacology


© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Ethnobotanical relevance Trillium govanianum Wall. ex D. Don (Melanthiaceae) is valued as a traditional medicinal herb in the Himalayan region. Applications include treatment of cancer, hypertension, neurasthenia, giddiness, arthritis, dysentery, inflammation, sepsis and reproductive disorders. Its range is highly specific, and limited to cold, shaded and moist habitats at 2400-3500 m a.s.l. Rhizomes are gathered from wild populations for trade, and this has recently emerged as a significant source of income among indigenous people of the Indian Himalayan region. Aim To assess the impact of changing rhizome prices on T. govanianum in the Indian Himalayan region by observing the status of existing populations and assessing the typical methods used for gathering and trade of rhizomes. Material and methods Ecological attributes were assessed in 17 sites from Tirthan Valley (Himachal Pradesh), Munsiyari and Tunghnath (Uttarakhand). Socio-economic attributes assessed through communal focus groups and interviews with 579 medicinal plants gatherers and 19 traders, using semi-structured open ended questionnaires. Results Population decline was highest in Munsiyari, followed by Tirthan Valley and Tunghnath, indicating that the species may become locally extinct in some areas. Methods used for gathering did not consider regeneration. Conclusion Gathering of T. govanianum from wild populations is unselective and unmanaged, raising the potential threat of local extinctions. Sustainable utilization and effective conservation is needed to protect the species and maintain community incomes. A status of ‘threatened’ is justified for the species in the Indian Himalayan region, due to its slow life cycle, specific habitat requirement, low population density, and commercial value.

Document Type


First Page


Last Page


Publication Date