Crop Improvement

Genetic resources, varieties

Based on leaf morphology, bark pungency, grittiness of the bark and leaves, eight different types of cinnamon are recognised by growers in Sri Lanka (Wijesekera et al, 1975; Anon, 1996). They are (in Sinhalese):

Pani Kurundu or Pat kurundu or Mapat kurundu, Naga kurundu, Pani Miriskurundu, Weli kurundu, Sewala (sevel) Kurundu, Kahata kurundu, Penirasa kurundu, Pieris kurundu.

In addition, there are 19 selections, identified after screening 210 accessions by the Department of Export Agriculture of Sri Lanka. These selections are being popularised. The Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) at Calicut (Kerala, India) maintains 300 accessions of cinnamon and related taxa. This collection comprises lines from the cinnamon estates of Ancharakandi (Kannur District, Kerala; one of the oldest cinnamon estates in Asia, established by the British in nineteenth century and raised from seeds brought from Ceylon) the Mangalamcarp estate of Wynad (Kerala) and plants raised from selected trees of a few other collections existing in Kerala. Twelve lines introduced from Sri Lanka during the 1970s also form part of the collection of IISR. Apart from cinnamon, 35 lines of Chinese cassia (C. cassia) developed from the open pollinated progenies of cassia trees introduced during the early 1950s from China and maintained at the Srikundra Estate (under Brook Bond Tea Ltd.) at Valparai (Tamil Nadu), are also being conserved. At the Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station of Kerala Agricultural University, Odakkali, Kerala, 236 lines of cinnamon are being maintained. These lines are mainly derived from seed progenies of the material maintained at Ancharakandi. The collections at IISR and KAU (as well as other collections derived from these sources) have been analysed for genetic variability with a view to develop better lines. Flavonoid analysis (Shylaja, 1984; Ravindran et al, 1992) indicated absolute similarity between C. verum collections cultivated in India and those introduced from Sri Lanka, illustrating the common origin of both.

In India, at IISR, 291 lines of cinnamon (all originally raised from open pollinated seeds from selected mother plants) were evaluated for quality characteristics such as bark oil, oleoresin and leaf oil and nine elite lines were identified. Clonal progenies of some of these lines with high quality parameters were evaluated in replicated trials

Table 2.10 Yield and quality characteristics of elite cinnamon lines



Fresh bark

Dry bark





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