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The Indian gooseberry, also called amla, is a fruit-bearing tree native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia. It's an important plant in traditional Indian medicine and is also used in various culinary applications.

Scientific name: Phyllanthus emblica 

Common Names: Indian gooseberry, amla, Nellikai (in Tamil), Nellikkai (in Malayalam), Amlaki (in Sanskrit), Amalaka (in Hindi), Usirikaya (in Telugu), and Dhatriphala (in Ayurveda).


Origin and Growth Habit

Amla is native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Amla is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree that grows up to 18 metres high. It has a spreading crown and a twisted or curved trunk.


Suitable climate and soil conditions:

Amla grows well in tropical and subtropical regions. It tolerates a variety of soil types, but prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soils.


Sunlight requirements:

Amla prefers full sun to partial shade.


Planting distance:

Amla trees should be planted at least 6 metres apart. Amla can be grown in containers too.



The Amla tree only needs minimal pruning. Dead or diseased branches should be removed. 


Water requirements:

Amla needs regular watering, especially during the growing season. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged. Once established, it is relatively drought tolerant.


Description Of The Fruit:

Amla is a round, greenish-yellow berry about 1-2 centimetres in diameter. There are red-coloured hybrid varieties available.


Taste, Size And Colour:

The amla fruit has a sour and slightly bitter taste. The fruit is small, about the size of a small cherry, and is greenish-yellow when ripe.


Edible Uses:

The amla / nellikka is used in cooking to add a sour flavour to dishes. It's also used for making chutneys, pickles and preserves. Amla is often eaten with salt and red chilli powder as a snack.


Medicinal Use:

Amla has been used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years. It's credited with a wide range of health benefits, including improving digestion, strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation.

Amla is one of the three main ingredients of Triphala, a popular Ayurvedic herbal formula. It is a common ingredient in hair care products as it's said to strengthen hair and prevent hair loss.


Nutritional Value:

Amla is a rich source of vitamin C, antioxidants and other nutrients. It's also low in calories and contains a lot of fibre.

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