Traditional uses of Schoenoplectus lacustris (Linn.) Palla and Schoenoplectus mucronatus (Linn.) Palla (local name-Kouna) by the Meitei Community of Manipur(India)

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 - 9:50pm to 10:10pm
SHARMA, H. Rajanikanta - Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, India
H. Manoranjan SHARMA - Department of Botany, Thoubal College, Thoubal, India
A. Radhapyari DEVI - P.G. Department of Botany, D.M. College of Science, Imphal, India

This paper deals with the ethnobotanical investigation of two species of matting rush/water rush/club rush i.e. Schoenoplectus lacustris (Linn.) Palla and Schoenoplectus mucronatus (Linn.) Palla belonging to the family Cyperaceae. Both species are locally known as Kouna in Manipur and are closely associated with the tradition and culture of the Meitei Community of Manipur. The Meitei are the dominant community of Manipur. These two aquatic plants grows wild as well as cultivated in the wetlands of Imphal Valley mainly in Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur Districts of Manipur. Since time immemorial, Kouna was used for making different types of mats only. The ethnobotanical use of water rush in mat making is closely associated with the legendary divine snake God “Nongda Lairen Pakhangba” who ascended the throne of Manipur in 33 AD.  But in recent years the items manufactured from Kouna are diversified to include items like lady’s hand bags, pen stands, tea coasters, wall hangings, hats, stools, chappals, cushions, chairs etc. The products of Kouna are in great demand not only in Local markets but also in international markets as well. Thus in recent years the products of Kouna have become a good source of income for many of the Meitei households. Several cottage industries are being established solely based on Kouna.