Tamil Nadu reflects the rich heritage of Hindu temples and historical sites with a long legacy. People worship and revere trees in every temple with most devotion.  The Reverence to the trees in temples is practiced across the world and is well established from pre-historic periods in India (Bharat). Sthala-vriksha (Sacred Tree) is the tree which is significant and unique in most of the temples in India. In the present study, ethnomedicinal survey of sacred trees was carried out in the Theni District of Tamil Nadu with the support of a standardized questionnaire. No detailed study has been conducted on sacred tree practices and its role in Theni district. Therefore, Ethnomedicinal uses and other related information about sacred trees occurring in the 18 temples of Theni district have been documented in the present study in the year 2023. The result has revealed the occurrence of 13 plant species in the 18 temples. Most of the temples are maintained by Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department of Tamil Nadu Government while very few are maintained by local villagers. Aegle marmelos (L.) was the most frequently recorded sacred tree (n=5) in the present study. Species were accurately identified and authenticated, and specimens were preserved for further use. The study suggests certain recommendations for protecting the sacred trees maintained in the temples.


Sacred trees, Sacred Tree, Theni district, Hindu temples, Medicinal uses, Conservation,


Download data is not yet available.


  1. K.R. Ambastha, C.S. Jha, Geospatial analysis of Tamil Nadu Eastern Ghats forest types at landscape level with reference to fragmentation and species diversity, J Indian Soc Remote Sens, 38, (2010) 453–463. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12524-010-0047-1
  2. E-Book : INDIA: Unity in Cultural Diversity, National Council of Educational Research and Training, 2018, June 2018 Ashadha 1940
  3. M. Gunasekaran, P. Balasubramanian, P. Ethnomedicinal Uses of Sthala-vriksha s (Temple Trees) in Tamil Nadu, Southern India, Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 10, (2012) 253–268.
  4. N. Bhatla, T. Mukherjee, G. Singh, Plants: Traditional worshipping. Indian Journal of History of Science, 19 (1), 198437- 42.
  5. A. Dafni, The supernatural characters and powers of sacred trees in the Holy Land, J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, 25(3), 2007(10). https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-3-10
  6. X. Ma, D. Luo, Y. Xiong, C. Huang, G. Li, Ethnobotanical study on ritual plants used by Hani people in Yunnan, China, J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, 20, 17 (2024). [doi: 10.1186/s13002-024-00659-y]
  7. K.H. Shim, N. Sharma, S.S.A An, Mechanistic Insights into the Neuroprotective Potential of Sacred Ficus Trees, Nutrients, 14 (22) (2022) [doi: 10.3390/nu14224731]
  8. K. Keerthana, A. Rohini, D. Murugananthi, R. Vasanthi, An Economic Analysis on Production of Grapes in Theni District of Tamilnadu, Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, 39(11), (2021), 28–34. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajaees/2021/v39i1130719
  9. P.K. Warrier, P.K. Nambiar and C. Ramankutty, Indian medicinal plants, A Compendium of 500 species. Orient Backswan Madras, 1995 (1: 89)
  10. J.S. Gamble and C.E.C Fischer, Flora of Presidency of Madras Adlaed & Son Lid. London, 1935
  11. K.M. Mathew, The Flora of Tamil Nadu, Carnatic, Rapinet Herbarium, Trichirapalli, 1-3, 1983
  12. R. Kanthale Prakash, Pharmacognostic study of Sapindus Emarginatus Vahl, International Research Journal of Science & Engineering, Special Issue A9, (2020)
  13. Manrique Ojeda-Ayala, Soila Maribel Gaxiola-Camacho and Francisco Delgado-Vargas, Phytochemical composition, and biological activities of the plants of the genus Randia Composiciónfitoquímica y actividadesbiológicas de las plantas del género Randia, Botanical Sciences 100 (4), (2022) 779-796.
  14. V. Sujatha, V. Alagesan, Brief Review of the Genus Diospyros Montana Roxb, Phytopharmacological Properties, 2(1), (2022)11-19, https://doi.org/10.21467/exr.2.1.4572