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Assyrian plum (Cordia myxa)


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) 

The Assyrian plum (Cordia myxa L.) 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 Southeast Asia, the leaves are used to feed livestock.


Cordia myxa is a deciduous, perennial shrub or small tree up to 12 m tall. Its bole may be tortuous or straight, and it has a cracked bark, grey in colour. The crown is dense and 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). 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., 2014; Oudhia, 2007).


Cordia myxa is a multipurpose tree suitable for arid and semi-arid regions that is mainly used for its edible fruits. The leaves are used as traditional leafy vegetable by tribal peoples of Chhattisgarh, India (Chauhan et al., 2014). Fresh unripe fruits are acrid and are used as vegetable, pickles or fresh fruits by local population in India or Iran, notably in times of scarcity (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). The tree provides wood for fuel and timber and fodder for livestock. 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 an area that goes from the eastern Mediterranean region to eastern India. It was introduced to tropical Africa, tropical Asia and Australia, and more recently in the Americas. It is common in Southeast Asia. The Assyrian plum occurs in dry deciduous woodland, from sea level up to 1500 m altitude. The tree 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 

Cordia myxa 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. It can then provide fresh useful foliage for livestock (Ahirwar, 2014).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 


Information about the nutritive value of Cordia myxa foliage is scarce. It seems to be of a rather unremarkable value, with a protein content in the 10-16% DM range, a crude fibre content in the 15-27% DM, and a rather high ash value (> 12% DM).


The Cordia myxa fruit contains about 8% DM of protein and 26 % DM of crude fibre when whole (Aberoumand et al., 2009). The destoned fruit contains 11-12% DM protein, 65-70% NDF, and 52-57% DM ADF 20 to 30 days after fruiting. These values are halved when the fruit is ripe (Meghwal et al., 2021).


The use of Cordia myxa as fodder for ruminants has been recorded in India, Pakistan, and Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana) (Adegoke et al., 2016; Avornyo et al., 2018; Ouédraogo-Koné et al., 2006; Göhl, 1982).

There are diverging results about the palatability of Cordia myxa leaves. In India, a study in the state of Madhya Pradesh showed that Cordia myxa was not the preferred fodder of livestock (Chourasia et al., 2010). In the state of Chhattisgarh, an ethnobotanical survey found that Cordia myxa leaves were not preferred by farmers to feed their livestock (Nag et al., 2016). Likewise, in the arid area of Dera Ismail Khan District, Pakistan, Cordia myxa was among the less palatable fodders (Samreen, 2014). However, in Burkina Faso, an observational study reported that goats consumed Cordia myxa leaves in a rather large extent (frequency of browsing 26%) (Ouédraogo-Koné et al., 2006). 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 Cordia myxa leaves in rabbit feeding. As shown in the previous sections, the leaves are used both by humans and livestock, and are thus probably usable without problem as forage for rabbits as they constitute an interesting forage with 12-15% crude protein in DM and about 60% NDF (Lebas, 2016). In addition to the harvesting leaves on adult trees, 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. Adult rabbits could be fed safely with fruit pulp by oral administration (control group) during 21 days (5 ml /kg body weight, 3 times a day) in a study of the potential benefits of this fruit in the treatment of provoked gastritis (Mahmoud et al., 2020). It was demonstrated that the fruit mucilage of ripe or unripe fruit of Cordia myxa decreases rabbit arterial blood pressure in a dose dependent manner without affecting the respiratory rate (Abou‐Shaaban et al., 1989). As noted in the previous sections, Cordia myxa fruits are used by humans and by livestock species and could be therefore suitable for rabbits.

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

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 38   31.2 46 3  
Crude protein % DM 13.9   10.1 15.8 4  
Crude fibre % DM 20.2   14.7 26.7 3  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 59.5       1  
Acid detergent fibre % DM 27.9       1  
Lignin % DM 6.7       1  
Ether extract % DM 5.7   2.9 7.4 3  
Ash % DM 14.1   12.6 16.5 4  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.8         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 25   23.7 25.6 4  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.1   1.8 2.4 4  
Potassium g/kg DM 10.1       1  
Sodium g/kg DM 2       1  
Manganese mg/kg DM 279       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 35       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 161       1  
Iron mg/kg DM 144       1  
In vitro digestibility and solubility Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
In vitro OM digestibility (pepsin) % 42       1  
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 64.6         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 61.8         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 11         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.9         *
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 8.9         *
MEn rabbit MJ/kg DM 8.6         *
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 50.2         *
Nitrogen digestibility, rabbit % 45.5         *

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


Adegoke et al., 2016; Dhok et al., 2005; Malik et al., 1967; Sharma et al., 1966

Last updated on 17/11/2021 15:27:11

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Lebas F., 2021. Assyrian plum (Cordia myxa). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/163 Last updated on November 22, 2021, 9:13