Gluta travancorica Bedd

Family: Anacardiaceae 
Common name: Chenkurinji, Shendurini, Thodappi.
Conservation Status (IUCN Red List): Near Threatened (NT)

Key characters: Spathulate shyning leaves, crowded at tip of branchlets and woody warted globose fruits.

A large evergreen tree of the family Anacardiaceae (Mango family). The tree endemic to the Western Ghats and found naturally restricted to south of Aryankavu Gap, in Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve of Both Tamil Nadu and Kerala states. The Shendurni Wildlife Sanctuary of Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve in Kerala is named after the plant.

Trees growing to 20-25 meters high. Yields an acrid exudation. Leaves spathulate, shining, seen crowded to the tip of branchlets. Inflorescence axillary , much branched cymose panicles; flowers white. Fruit a globose drupe, 2-2.5 cm diameter, brown and warty outside. Seed single.

The tree yields a high quality timber, which is reddish in colour, resembling ‘Red Sanders’. In the British era, it was widely used for panelling furniture and cupboards, for making musical instruments and body of Pistol. The timber is known as ‘Tirunelveli Red Wood’.

Note: The acrid exudation may be skin allergic.

Ref: Beddome, Fl. Sylv. 1: 60. 1870; Gamble, Fl. Pres. Madras 261. 1918; Mohanan and Sivadasan, Fl. Agasthymala: 179. 2002.