Central Institute of Fisheries Education
32-GN Block, Sector V, Kolkata \u2013 91, India
The word makhana is composed of two Sanskrit words \u2013 Makh, means Yajna and Anna, means grain. Due to its non-mentioning in Vedas, it is considered as non-indigenous in origin.
It is an aquatic dry fruit with high nutritional value and medicinal properties also. The edible pops are the finished products obtained after the processing of the seeds of this aquatic phytocrop. Makhana is major cash crop of North Bihar.
As far the distribution of Makhana plants is concerned it is found in natural wild forms in various parts of north East India (Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura) and in scattered pockets of U.P. and Orissa. However, North Bihar
is the principal area where it is cultivated as cash crop. In North Bihar about 9 districts (Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia, Katihar, Supaul, Madhepura, Saharsa, Darbhanga and Madhubani.) witness the cultivation of Makhana. It is important aquatic bio-resource of North Bihar.
Makhana is a perennial rooted floating aquatic herb. In north Bihar it is cultivated as annual aquatic phytocrop. Its plant is large prickly with orbicular floating gigantic leaves. The size of leaves even more than 1 m. Plant is rooted with rhizomatous stem and cluster of roots. Leaves are green above and purple beneath. Flowers are violet in colour. Two types if flowers appear cleistogamous and chasmogamous. Fruits are spongy berry like which undergo dehiscence to release the arillated seeds. Mucilaginous arils keep the seeds floating for few days. Seeds finally settle down to the bottom. Each Makhana plant produces 15-20 fruits and each fruit contains 30-40 seeds.
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