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Assyrian plum (Cordia myxa)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This datasheet is pending revision and updating; its contents are currently derived from FAO's Animal Feed Resources Information System (1991-2002) and from Bo Göhl's Tropical Feeds (1976-1982).


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Assyrian plum, clammy cherry, gonda, Indian cherry, sapistan, Sebesten plum, selu, Sudan teak [English]; Sébestier, bois savon [French]; Sebesteira, sebesteiro do Soudan [Portuguese]; Tongbo, Tangbon [Ghanean]

Related feed(s) 

Assyrian plum is a multipurpose, perennial, medium sized, deciduous tree that is particularly suited in arid and semi-arid areas. Its fruits are edible and used in many dishes and for pickles. The wood makes good fuel or ornamental work. In South-East Asia, the leaves are used to feed livestock.  


Assyrian plum is a deciduous, perennial shrub or small tree up to 12 m tall. Its bole may be tortuous or straight, it has a cracked bark, grey in colou. The crown is dense, the branches are crooked. The branchlets are hairy when young becoming glabrous at maturity. The leaves are alternate, simple, petiolated (0.5-4.5cm). The limb is cordate, 3-18 cm long × 3-20 cm broad. The inflorescence is a loose panicle, 3-8.5 cm long, many flowered. The flowers are unisexual, white to creamy in colour, slightly diferent in shape (campanulate or tubular campanulate for calyx),  and number of lobes in their corolla according to the sex. The fruits are drupes borne in bunches. They are yellow, apricot or blackish (when mature) in colour, globular-ovoid in shape, 2-3.5 cm in diameter. They contain a sweet tasting pulp, almost transparent, mucilaginous. The pit (pyrene) is broadly ellipsoid to globose, c. 12 mm long, deeply wrinkled, 1–2-seeded (Meghwal et al., 2014Oudhia, 2007).


Assyrian plum is a multipurpose tree that is mainly producing edible fruits but also provides wood for fuel and timber and fodder for livestock. It is suitable for arid and semi-arid regions. Fresh unripe fruits are acrid and used for vegetable and pickles in times of food scarcity. The gum extracted from the fruit pulp can be used in industrial starch manufacturing (Hussain et al., 2020).  The tree has environmental value as a shade provider. Some parts of the tree also have ethnomedicinal uses: the fruits have been traditionally used for treating urinary infections and could have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, demulcent, and antimicrobial activities(Murthy et al., 2019; Meghwal et al., 2014; Oudhia, 2007).


Cordia myxa originated from the area that goes from the eastern Mediterranean region to eastern India. It was introduced to tropical Africa, tropical Asia and Australia, and more recently also in the Americas (Oudhia, 2007). Common in Southeast Asia.

Assyrian plum occurs in dry deciduous woodland, from sea level up to 1500 m altitude. Assyrian plum grows on alluvial soil . It occurs naturalized around villages and abandoned habitations. It tolerates moderate shade, and is drought and frost hardy (Oudhia, 2007).

Forage management 

Assyrian plum readily coppices whent it is pollarded. A six-month old tree, cut at 8-10 cm height, is able to produce  5-7 stems of 0.2-0.3 cm in diameter which bear 5-6 leaves (per stem) within 2 months (Ahirwar, 2014). It therefore provides  fresh useful foliage for livestock. 

Nutritional aspects

The leaves of Assyrian plum (Cordia myxa) are used as cattle fodder (Göhl, 1982). However a recent study comparing the preferences of wild ruminants and livestock reported that the foliage of Assyrian plum was not among the preferred fodder of livestock (Chourasia et al., 2010). An ethnobotanical survey among farmers in the Indian district of Chattigarsh also reported that assyrian plum leaves were not either preferred by farmers to feed their livestock (Nag et al., 2016).

In Africa (Burkina Faso) assyrian plum leaves were assessed among other leaves or pods of browse species like Khaya senegalensis, Cassia sieberiana pods, Bauhinia thonningii pods, Daniella oleifera, Mangifera indica, and, Cassia sieberiana. Assyrian plum leaves had the highest fibre content and the lowest Metabolizable Energy and in vitro Organic Matter Digestibility (less than 50%)(Adegoke et al., 2016). An observational study however reported that goats consumed cordia myxa leaves in a rather large extent by goats (frequency of browsing 26%) (Ouédraogo-Koné et al., 2006).

In Ghana, not only the leaves but also the fruits were recorded as being used to feed ruminants (Avornyo et al., 2018).

In India (Akola district, Maharashtra), Assyrian plum leaves were reported to have good Ca and K content and their consumption could explain the good blood mineral status of goats this area (Dhok et al., 2005).



No information seems available in the international literature (March 2021) on the use of assyrian plum (Cordia myxa) leaves in rabbit feeding. However this leaves are used as traditional vegetable by local populations in India (Chauhan et al., 2014) or, for ruminants foraging in Africa (Adegoke et al., 2016; Avornyo et al., 2018; Ouédraogo-Koné et al., 2006). For these reasons C. myxa leaves are most probably usable without problem as forage for rabbits. They constitute an interesting forage with 12-15% crude protein in DM and 60% NDF with 28% lignin in DM. For rabbits, the calculated digestible energy content is about 11 MJ/kg DM but with a very low digestibility of the proteins, in relation with the very high content of lignin (Lebas, 2016).

In addition to the classical harvest of leaves on adult tree, coppicing very young plants allows to produce quickly fresh shoots (Ahirwar, 2014). Such young shoots could probably be easily and quite completely  (leaves and stems) eaten by rabbits.


Information on the use of Cordia myxa fruits in rabbit feeding is very scarce. However adult rabbit have received, without health problem, this fruit pulp by oral administration (control group) during 21 days (5 ml /kg body weight, 3 times a day) in a study of the role of this fruit in treatment of provoked gastritis (Mahmoud et al., 2020). In addition, it was demonstrated that the fruit mucilage of ripe or unripe fruit of C. myxa decreases rabbit arterial blood pressure in a dose dependent manner without affecting the respiratory rate (Abou-Shaaban et al., 1989). On the other hand fruits are used as vegetable, pickles or crude fruits by local population in India or Iran (Meghwal et al., 2014, Tewari, 2016; Aberoumand et al., 2011) or used as fodder for livestock in Iran or in Africa (Aberoumand et al., 2011; Avornyo et al., 2018). Thus, Cordia myxa fruit seems to be a feed suitable for rabbits. The crude protein level is about 8% in DM and the crude fibre 26% /DM. The calcium content is relatively low (0.46% /DM) but this fruit can be an interesting source of phosphorus (about 2% in DM) (Aberoumand et al., 2009; Tewari, 2016).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This datasheet is pending revision and updating; its contents are currently derived from FAO's Animal Feed Resources Information System (1991-2002) and from Bo Göhl's Tropical Feeds (1976-1982).

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 38.0 7.5 31.2 46.0 3
Crude protein % DM 13.5 3.0 10.1 15.8 3
Crude fibre % DM 20.2 6.1 14.7 26.7 3
Ether extract % DM 5.7 2.4 2.9 7.4 3
Ash % DM 14.1 2.1 12.6 16.5 3
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.6 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 24.9 1.0 23.7 25.6 3
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.1 0.3 1.8 2.4 3

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Malik et al., 1967; Sharma et al., 1966

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:39

Datasheet citation 

DATASHEET UNDER CONSTRUCTION. DO NOT QUOTE. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/163 Last updated on September 27, 2021, 14:14