Underutilized Fruits Research in Arid Regions: A Review

Abstract views: 206 / PDF downloads: 94


  • P R Meghwal ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur 342 003
  • Akath Singh ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur 342 003


The hot arid regions of India cover 31.7 Mha area spread in 7 states with major area in states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. These regions are characterized by low and erratic rainfall with high coefficient of variation and harsh climatic conditions. Inspite of climatic and other constraints, these regions are suitable for growing of many fruit species like ber, pomegranate, aonla, datepalm and citrus, etc. which are grown commercially. Besides these fruit crops some underutilized fruits crops mostly indigenous ones are becoming popular in arid regions on account of their diversified uses. Underutilized crops could be considered in these areas for integration in existing farming system as these crops require less inputs and can sustain the harsh climatic conditions. There are around 30 plant species in arid zone known for their edible uses out of which some 20 plant species are known for their edible fruits or as vegetables viz., kair (Capparis decidua), lasora (Cordia myxa), jhar ber (Ziziphus nummularia), pilu (Salvadora oleoides), khejri (Prosopis cineraria), phalsa (Grewia subinaequalis), bael (Aegle marmelos), karonda (Carissa carandas), fig (Ficus carica) and prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) etc. These underutilized fruits have many advantages in terms of ease in growing, hardy nature and good yield even under extreme weather conditions. These crops have their own history of consumption because, local people are well aware about their nutritional and medicinal values. Thus, these crops have the potential to provide great nutritional and social benefits and it is increasingly advised that they are identified, researched and promoted in the way similar to the other commercial fruit crops. This paper reviews the work done on collection, evaluation and conservation of germplasm, ethnobotanical values, improvement, propagation, agrotechniques, post harvest management, value addition, problems encountered and researchable issues pertaining to underutilized fruit crops in arid region.


Download data is not yet available.


Aberoumand, A. 2011. Survey of some plant foods as sources of antioxidants. Innovative Romanian Food Biotechnology 8: 22-25.

Agarwal, V. and Chouhan, B.M. 1988. A study on composition and hypolipidemic effect on dietary fibre from some plant foods. Plant Food for Human Nutrition 38(2): 189-197.

AICFIP 1980. Project Report 1976-1980, Cell III, All-India Coordinated Fruit Improvement Project, Hisar, Technical, Document No I.

AICFIP 1980. Project Report 1976-1980, Cell III. All-India Coordinated Fruit Improvement Project, Hisar, Technical, Document No I.

AICRPAZF 1995. Proceedings of Eighth Group Workers Meeting of All-India Co-ordinated Research Project on Arid Zone Fruits, held during 4-6 January 1997 at Rajasthan Agriculture University, Bikaner, pp. 4

AICRPAZF 1985. Proceedings, Third National Workshop on Arid Zone Fruits Research, held during 5-8 July 1985. Mahatma Phule Agricultural University, Rahuri. All-India Co-ordinated Research Project on Arid Zone Fruits, Hisar, Technical, Document 18.

Anonymous 1996. ICAR News 2(4): 23.

Anonymous 2006. Annual Progress Report, Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur.

Anonymous 2008. Annual Progress Report, Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur.

Anonymous 2013. Annual Progress Report, Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur.

Arya, S.S., Toky, O.P., Bisht, R.P. and Tomar, R. 1991. Prosopis cineraria - A promising multipurpose tree for arid lands. Agroforestry Today 3(4): 13-14.

Chouhan, B.M., Duhan, A. and Bhatt, C.M. 1986. Nutritional value of kair (Capparis decidua) fruit. Journal of Food Science and Technology 23(2): 106-108.

Chundawat, B.S. 1990. Arid Fruit Culture. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 189 p.

Deora, M.S. and Shekhawat, N.S. 1995. Microprapagation of Capparis decidua (Forsk) Edgew: A tree of arid horticulture. Plant Cell Reports 15: 278-281.

Duhan, A., Chauhan, B.M. and Punia, D. 1992. Nutritional value of some nonconventional plant foods of India. Plant Food for Human Nutrition 42: 193-200.

Felker, P., Singh, G.B. and Pareek, O.P. 1997. Opportunities for development of cactus (Opuntia spp.) in arid and semi-arid Regions. Annals of Arid Zone 36(3): 267-278.

Gupta, I.C., Harsh, L.N., Shankarnarayan, K.A. and Sharma, B.M. 1989. Wealth from wasteland. Indian Farming 38(11): 18-19.

Gupta, R.K. and Saxena, S.K. 1968. Resource survey of Salvadora oleoides Decne and Salvadora persica L. for non edible oil in western Rajasthan. Tropical Ecology 9: 140-152.

Haseeb, A., Alam, M.M. and Khan, A.M. 1984. Control of plant parasitic nematodes with chopped plant leaves. Indian Journal of Plant Pathology 2(2): 180-181.

Heywood, V.H. 1978. Flowering Plants of the World. Oxford University Press, London, 335 p.

Joshi, G.D., Prabhudesai, V.G. and Salri, M.J. 1986. Physico-chemical characteristics of karonda (Carissa carandas L.). Maharashtra Journal of Horticulture 3: 39-44.

Kakkar, N.L., Solanki, K.R., Singh, M. and Vyas, S.C. 1991. Micropropagation of Prosopis cineraria. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 29: 65-67.

Karale, A.R., Keskar, B.G., Dhawale, B.C., Kale, P.N. and Choudhari, K.G. 1990. Variability studies in floral morphology and fruit set in seedling population of karonda. Journal of Maharashtra Agriculture University 15(1): 109-110.

Khan, H.A., Meghwal, P.R. and Harsh, L.N. 2004. Salvadora oleoides Decne: An under utilized economic plant of the desert. Science Tech Entrepreneur 12(12): 61-64.

Khan, H.A., Meghwal, P.R. and Harsh, L.N. 2008. Economic potential of peelu (Salvadora oleoides)-an important minor forest produce of the desert. In Processing Technologies for Value Addition of Minor Forest Produce in Tribal Areas: A Step in Rural Development (Eds. R.K. Gupta and R.T. Patil), pp. 44-47. Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology, Ludhiana

Kumar, S., Farzana, P. and Narain, P. 2005. Medicinal Plants in the Indian Arid Zone. Technical Bulletin, CAZRI, Jodhpur, 64 p.

Mahla, H.R. and Singh, J.P. 2013. Assessment of in-situ variability in kair germplasm for utilization in genetic improvement through ex-situ conservation. Annals of Arid Zone 52(2): 109-112.

Mahla, H.R., Singh, V.S., Singh, D. and Singh, J.P. 2012. Capparis decidua (Forsk.) Edgew.: An underutilized multipurpose shrub of hot arid region: Distribution, diversity and utilization. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 60: 385-394.

Mallik, S.K., Chaudhury R., Dhariwal, O.P. and Bhandari, D.C. 2010. Genetic Resources of Tropical Underutilized Fruits in India. National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi, pp. 38-46.

Meghwal, P.R. 2002. Judging culinary maturity of kair fruits (Capparis decidua). Current Agriculture 26(1-2): 75-76.


Meghwal, P.R. 2006. Effect of time and intensity of pruning on vegetative growth, fruit yield and quality of phalsa. Annals of Arid Zone 45(1): 59-62.

Meghwal, P.R. 2007. Propagation studies in lehsua (Cordia myxa). Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 77(11): 765-767.

Meghwal, P.R. 2008. Dehydration of fruits and vegetable from traditional farming systems of arid zone. In Diversification of Arid Farming System (Eds. P. Narain, M.P. Singh, Amal Kar, S. Kathju and Praveen-Kumar), pp. 405-407. Arid Zone Research Association of India and Scientific Publishers (India), Jodhpur.

Meghwal, P.R. and Azam, M.M. 2007. Prospects of horticultural crops of arid zone for processing industries. International Exhibition and Conference on Processed Food. Aug. 29-Sept., 2, 2007, Jaipur (Rajasthan).

Meghwal, P.R. and Harsh, L.N. 2008. Budding in khejri: An important technique for conservation and propagation of elite germplasm. Green Farming 1(4): 49.

Meghwal, P.R. and Pradeep-Kumar, 2009. Common fig cultivation in Indian arid zone. Intensive Agriculture 48(4): 20-23.

Meghwal, P.R. and Tewari, J.C. 2002. Kair (Capparis decidua): A multipurpose woody species for arid region. Forest, Trees and Livelihood 12(4): 313-319

Meghwal, P.R. and Vashishtha, B.B. 1998. Effect of time of planting and auxin on rooting of cuttings of kair (Capparis decidua L. Forsk). Annals of Arid Zone 37(4): 401-404.

Meghwal, P.R., Singh, A. and Morwal, B.R. 2014a. Diversity, distribution and horticultural potential of Cordia myxa Roxb.: A promising underutilized fruit species of arid and semi-arid regions of India. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, DOI.10.1007/s10722-014-016-y.

Meghwal, P.R., Singh, A. and Pradeep-Kumar 2014b. Evaluation of selected gonda genotypes (Cordia myxa L.) on different rootstocks. Indian Journal of Horticulture 71(3): 415-418.

Meghwal, P.R., Singh, M. and Morwal, B.R. 2012. Collection, evaluation and characterization of karonda germplasm in arid zone. Poster presentation in Symposium on Managing Stress in Drylands under Climate Change Scenario, December, 1-2, AZRAI and CAZRI, Jodhpur, Abstract, pp. 246.

Mehra, K.L. and Arora, R.K. 1982. Plant Genetic Resources of India- Their Diversity and Conservation. National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi (NBPGR Science Monogram No. 4).

Mertia, R.S. and Gupta, I.C. 1993. Salvadora oleoides - A promising tree of Thar Desert. In Afforestation of Arid Lands. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, pp. 111-115.

Mishra, K.K. 2007. New karonda varieties from Pant Nagar. Indian Horticulture (Nov-Dec): 9-10

Mitra, S.K., Majhi, D. Lembisana, Devi, H. and Pathak, P.K. 2011. Potential of underutilized tropical and subtropical fruits of Asia and Oceania. Acta Horticulturae 921: 111-115.

Nagar, B.L., Fagaria, M.S and Pareek, S. 2013. Genetic variation for physico-chemical characteristics in Lehsua (Cordia myxa L.). African Journal of Agricultural Research 8(40): 5047-5050.

Oudhia, P. 2007. Cordia myxa L. In Medicinalplants/Plantesmedicinales1 [CD- Rom &, A. (Eds. G.H. Schmelzer and Gurib-Fakim). Prota 11(1) PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Pareek, O.P. 2002. Top working wild khejri trees. Indian Horlticulture 4(1): 11-12.

Pareek, O.P. and Sharma, S. 1993. Underutilized fruits. Indian Horticulture 38: 47-56.

Rai, S. 1987. Chemical examination of edible plants of Rajasthan with special reference to Capparidaceae. Current Agriculture 11(1-2): 15-23.

Roy, M.M., Kumar, S., Meghwal, P.R. and Kumar, A. 2015. Prospects of Cactus introduction for improving livelihood in low rainfall regions of India. Acta Horticulturae 1067: 239-246.

Satyanarayana, T., Anjana, A. and Mathews, V.P. 2008. Phytochemical and pharmacological reviews of some Indian Capparis species. Pharmacognosy Reviews Supplements 2: 36-45.

Shankar, V. and Kumar, S. 1987. Grazing resources of Jaisalmer District. Ecology and Developmental Planning with Special Reference to Sewan Grasslands, CAZRI Publication No. 28, 92 p.

Shankar, V. and Saxena, S.K. 1976. Spineless cactus as fodder reserve. Indian Farming 26(1): 23-24.

Shankarnarayan, K.A., Harsh, L.N. and Kathju, S. 1987. Agroforestry in arid zones of India. Agroforestry Systems 5: 69-88.

Sharma, P.C., Bhatia, V., Bansal, N. and Sharma, A. 2007. A review on bael tree. Natural Product Radiance 6(2): 171-178.

Sharma, V.K. 1997. Bael. In Wasteland Horticulture, pp. 89. APH publishing Corporation, New Delhi.

Singh, A.K., Singh, S., Singh, R.S., Bagle, B.G. and Sharma, B.D. 2011. The Bael- Fruit for Drylands. Tech. Bull. No.38, CIAH, CHES, Vejalpur, Godhra 46 p.

Singh, D. and Singh, R.K. 2011. Kair (Capparis decidua): A potential ethnobotanical weather predictor and livelihood security shrub of the arid zone of Rajasthan and Gujrat. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 10(1): 146-155.

Singh, G.B. 2003. General review of Opuntias in India. Journal of Prickly Pear Association for Cactus Development 5: 30-39.


Singh, G.B. and Felker, P. 1995. Edible Cactus - New hope for wasteland development. Wasteland News 11(2): 58-61.

Singh, G.B., Tiwari, R.K., Bajpai, C.K. and Solanki, K.R. 2001. Studies on exploitation of edible cactus in red soils of Bundelkhand. Indian Journal of Soil Conservation 29(2): 184-186.

Singh, M., Jindal, S.K. and Sivdasan, R. 2005. Capparis decidua: A multipurpose shrub. In Shrubs of Indian Arid Zone (Eds. P. Narain, M. Singh, M.S. Khan and S. Kumar), pp. 97-104. Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur

Singh, M.P. 2007. The phenomenon of mortality in Prosopis cineraria trees in some arid districts of Rajasthan. In Mortality in Agro Forestry Trees (Eds. D.P.S. Nanda and J.C. Kaushik), pp. 67-76. CCS HAU, Hissar.

Singh, R. 1979. Fruits. National Book Trust, New Delhi.

Singh, R.N. and Roy, S.K. 1984. The Bael. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, 25 p.

Singh, S., Singh, A.K., Apparao, V.V. and Bhargava, R. 2013. Thar Kamal: A new karonda variety. Indian Horticulture 58(4): 9-10.

Singh, S., Singh, A.K., Meghwal, P.R., Singh, A. and Swamy, G.S.K. 2014. Karonda. In Tropical and Sub Tropical Fruit Crops: Crop Improvement and Varietal Wealth, Part I (Ed. S.N. Ghosh), pp. 392-405. Jaya Publishing House, New Delhi.

Singh, S., Singh, A.K., Singh, R.S. and Sharma, S.K. 2015. Thar Divya: An early maturing variety of bael for drylands. Indian Horticulture 60(6): 11-13.

Tyagi, P. and Kothari, S.L. 1997. Micropropagation of Capparis decidua through in vitro shoot proliferation on nodal explant of mature trees and seedling explants. Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 66: 19-23.

Vashishtha, B.B. 1987. Vegetative propagation of Capparis decidua. Annals of Arid Zone 26 (1&2): 123-124.

Vishalnath, Pareek, O.P., Saroj, P.L. and Sharma, B.D. 2000. Biodiversity of khejri in arid regions of Rajasthan: Screening of khejri for culinary value. Indian Journal of Soil Conservation 28(1): 43-47.

Vyas, G.K., Sharma, R., Kumar, V., Sharma, T.B. and Khandelwal, V. 2009. Diversity analysis of Capparis decidua (Forsk.) Edgew using biochemical and molecular parameters. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 56: 905-911.






How to Cite

Meghwal, P. R., & Singh, A. (2017). Underutilized Fruits Research in Arid Regions: A Review. Annals of Arid Zone, 56(1 & 2). Retrieved from https://epubs.icar.org.in/index.php/AAZ/article/view/71099




Most read articles by the same author(s)