Online Manual for the Forest Tree Seeds of Kerala

A Kerala Forest Department Funded Project

Dr. K Sudhakara
Professor & Head of the Department
Dept. of Silviculture & Agroforestry
College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur 680 656
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Scientific Name  Michelia champaca Linn.
Vernacular name  Champakam (Malayalam); Shembuga, Sempangan (Tamil) (Chacko et al., 2002). Champa (Hindi) (Gamble, 1922)
Common name  Champaca (Chacko et al., 2002). Champak, Golden champaka, Yellow champaka (Bose et al., 1998)
Synonyms  M. aurantiaca Wall. (Chacko et al., 2002); M. doltsopa Hamm., M. rheedii Wight, M. rufinervis DC.
Family  Magnoliaceae
Distribution  It is a native of E. Himalayas, Assam and Western Ghats. It is cultivated throughout India. It occurs in West Bengal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It is cultivated throughout India and Myanmar for its fragrant flowers (Luna, 1996). In Kerala, it occurs sporadically in evergreen forests (Ckacko et al., 2002)
Description  A tall, evergreen tree attaining a height of 25 m, with a long clean cylindrical bole, branches densly tomentose. Large handsome, evergreen tree with a tapering crown of ascending branches attaining a height of 35 m and a breast height diameter of 111 cm (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002)
Flowering season  Summer and in Rainy season. March to June and may continue till the end of rains (Bose et al., 1998)
Fruiting season  Ripens in August, throughout the year (Bose et al., 1998); November to December (Bourdillon, 1908). August to September (FRI, 1975) and March to april (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002)
Flowers  Yellow to orange, very fragrant, solitary and axillary, strongly scented, 5 cm across; perianth 15, the outer oblong, the inner linear (Bose et al., 1998)
Fruits  Fruit is a capsule, 5 to 10 cm long, in long clusters on a spike, dark brown, attached on long funicle, open at the back by two valves
Fruit type  Capsule
Seeds  Seeds 1 to 12, dark brown, polished, angular, covered with pink fleshy substance
Seed length  0.73 cm (Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  12000 to 16900 seeds/kg (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  A Large quantity of seed is destroyed by birds rodents (Luna, 1996). Therefore care should be taken in planning seed collection. Capsules are collected from the tree by lopping off the branches when they start opening and seeds with red pulpy covering are seen fallen on the ground (Rai, 1999). Another indication of ripeness is when the parrots begin to feed on the fruits. However, seeds should never be collected from the ground, as they are usually insect damaged (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002)
Transportation of seeds  Capsules collected in cotton / plastic / polythene bags are transported as soon as possible. If the seed has to be transported to another place for use, ripe fruits will keep better if packed in moist charcoal dust (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed processing  Capsules are heaped under shade for 2 to 3 days until they open. Seeds are, then separated out by gentle thrashing. The red pulp (aril) is washed off in water by rubbing on wire net and hardware cloth and thereafter dried under shade. The light seeds, which float on water are discarded at the time of washing seeds (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al.,2002)
Seed storage  Recalcitrant. De-pulped and dried seeds can be stored with maximum retention of viability up to 8 months in perforated polythene bags at 5oC (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al.,2002)
Viability period  Seeds are viable for one month under ambient room temperatures in perforated polythene bags (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed emptiness  No information (Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed pre treatment  No treatment is required. However, treatments such as mesocarp removal and treatment of seeds with gibberellic acid hasten germination. (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002). Soaking the seeds in 1000 ppm GA3 for 24 hrs give germination percentage of 72.5% (Deepu Mathew and Sivakumar, 2001). Depulped seeds extracted from fresh fruits are treated with 500 ppm GA3 for 48-hrs than the 24-hrs treatment (Bahuguna et al., 1988)
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al., 2002)
Germination percentage  Up to 80 (Chacko et al., 2002)
Germination period  2 to 30 days (Luna, 1996; Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002)
Nursery technique  Fresh seeds are sown in germination trays containing vermiculite and watered. Germination starts within 2 to 3 days and completes within a month. When germination is over the seedlings are pricked out into polybags of 22.5 x 17.5 cm filled with potting mixture and maintained under shade (Chacko et al., 2002). Fruits are collected in October and heaped in the shade until they open, and the fleshy portion is removed by washing and rubbing with a wire net. The depulped seeds are then dried in the shade, and dibbled at 1.5 to 2.0 cm depths in raised prepared nursery beds, with farmyard manure (FYM) and fine sand mixed in. The seeds are covered with soil/sand/FYM (2:1:1), and the beds are kept irrigated and weeded (Pyare Lal et al., 1997)
Method of propagation  By seeds and vegetative method. Six- to eight-month-old seedlings are cut to a height of 25-30 cm above the ground and a slit was made in the rootstock. Defoliated scions are cut into a wedge shape and inserted into the slits and the junction is wrapped w
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Moderate (Chacko et al., 2002)
Diseases  No reported so far (Chacko et al., 2002)
Medicinal properties  The stem bark is astringent, febrifuge, diuretic and useful in fever, cough, chrinic gastritic and cardiac debility. The flowers are useful in leprosy, skin diseases, wounds and ulcers. The oil from the flowers "Champaka oil" is employed in curing eye ailments and gout. The fruits and seeds are used for healing of cracks in the feet (Bose et al., 1998). Seeds are also medicinal (Gamble, 1922)
Uses  Wood is used for making light furniture and indoor works. It is suitable for moisture proof plywood and tea chests, heavy packing cases, boxes, battery separators and pencils (Chacko et al., 2002). Flowers are used in religious ceremonies. The wood is made into beads, and necklaces of the beads are sold to pilgrims at Haridwar (Gamble, 1922)
Wood properties  Softwood even grained; sapwood white, heartwood light olive brown. Annual rings distinctly marked by a dark line. Pores moderate sized, evenly distributed, often subdivided into 2-5 by thin partitions (Gamble, 1922)
References  Get ...
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