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Bosco Lawarence and K Murugan*

Melastomataceae family is known for colours. The members possess diverse polyphenolic compounds. The major constituents of this family belong to terpenoids, simple phenolics, quinones, lignans, glycosides, tannins or hydrolyzable tannin oligomers of molecular weights up to 4600 Da, and flavonoids and anthocyanins. Anthocyanin show many biological potentialities including food colourant. Therefore, the present study aims to unravel diversity of Osbeckia, viz. species along Munnar hills and also to analyze their anthocyanin content. Six species and three varieties of O. aspera were collected i.e., O. gracilis, O. wynadensis, O. leschenaultiana O. aspera var. aspera, O. aspera var. travancorica, Osbseckia aspera (L.) var. wightiana, Osbeckia reticulata, Osbeckia virgata. A taxonomic key was prepared for the identification of these species and the germ plasm was maintained in the garden as part of conservation. Anthocyanin content showed remarkable variations both in leaves and flowers among the species. Highest level was noticed with Osbseckia aspera (L.) var. wightiana and Osbeckia reticulata. Habitat of the plant also influences the production of anthocyanins, red or blue coloured pigments. The abiotic stress induction of anthocyanin biosynthesis has evaluated only on a small number of species. In order to meet the demand for this natural product, it’s essential to evaluate anthocyanin biosynthesis in terms of their habitat. Thus, further studies are planned in terms of in vitro culture, elucidation of anthocyanin and its fractionation from Osbseckia aspera (L.) var. wightiana and Osbeckia reticulata.

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