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  Mimusops elengi L.
Vernacular name  Elengi, Ilanji (Malayalam); Mahizhampoo maram, Elengi, Magada (Tamil); Mulsari, Bolsari, Bakul (Hindi) (Chacko et al., 2002)
Common name  Asian bullet wood (Chacko et al., 2002). Spanish cherry, Indian medlar (Bose et al., 1998)
Synonyms  Mimusops parvifolia R.Br. (Chacko et al., 2002)
Family  Sapotaceae
Distribution  Occurs in the Western Ghats, in the dry evergreen forests of the Eastern Ghats, also in the Andamans, Myanmar and Sri Lanka (FRI, 1985). In Kerala, it occurs in the evergreen and semi - evergreen forests up to 1200 m, and also grown in homesteads (Chacko et al., 2002)
Description  Slow growing, medium sized to large evergreen tree attaining a height of 25 m and a breast height diameter of 80 cm (FRI, 1985; Chacko et al., 2002)
Flowering season  March to June
Fruiting season  February to June; June to July (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002)
Flowers  The flowers are fragrant, axillary, borne solitary, star shaped and creamy white or dull white or greyish white in colour, about 1-1.5 cm across, solitary or in small clusters; calyx segments 8 in 2 series, lanceolate, corolla-lobes about 24, linear-oblong; stamens usually 8; staminodes lanceolate, hairy below; ovary pubescent (Bose et al., 1998)
Fruits  Fruit is a berry, about 2.5 cm in length, oval and yellow in colour when ripe
Fruit type  Berry
Seeds  Brown, ovoid, compressed seed. One seeded rarely two seeded (Bose et al., 1998)
Seed length  1.5-2.3 cm (FRI, 1985; Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed width  1-1.3 cm (FRI, 1985; Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  2,000 to 3,000 seeds/kg, 1,940 to 2,152 seeds/kg (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  Fruits are collected from the ground after fall (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002)
Transportation of seeds  The fruits are collected in cotton / polythene bags and transported to the processing centre as quickly as possible (Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed processing  The fruits are squeezed in water for depulping and seeds seperated and dried under shade (FRI, 1985; Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed storage  Probably recalcitrant. Viability of seeds is about 2 months. Seeds are susceptible to damage by ants, and hence treatment is recommended (Rai, 1999). Store seeds in dry condition in closed aluminium or plastic containers (Chacko et al., 2002)
Viability period  Seeds do not retain viability for long (Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed emptiness  No information (Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed pre treatment  Mild boiled water treatment may be given because of the hard testa. Cold - water treatment may be given to soften the hard testa (Chacko et al., 2002)
Germination type  Epigeous (Chacko et al., 2002)
Germination percentage  30 to 60 (Chacko et al., 2002)
Germination period  30 to 45 days (Rai, 1999); Sometime up to 87 days (FRI, 1985; Chacko et al., 2002)
Nursery technique  Freshly collected seeds are sown in germination trays containing vermiculite and watered under shade. In about 60 days, the seedlings attain 5 cm height and they are pricked out to polythene bags of size 22.5 cm x 17.5 cm and maintained under shade for about 60 days. Seedlings have to be maintained in the nursery for about 8 months. Adequate watering, twice a day, shall be provided (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002)
Method of propagation  By seeds. The natural reproduction of this tree is satisfactory. The seeds fall to the ground and germinate with the onset of the monsoon.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Nil (Chacko et al., 2002)
Diseases  Rhizopus sp., Mucor sp., Torula sp., Aspergillus sp. are the important spermoplane fungi recorded (Mohanan and Anil Chandran, 2001; Chacko et al., 2002)
Medicinal properties  The seeds oil is used for medicine. Bark is tonic and febrifuge and is used as a gargle for odontopathi. Tender stems are used as toothbrushes. The fruits and seeds are effective in curing dental ailments. Various parts are used for treatment of wound and dysentery. The bark is used for disease of gums and flowers for blood diseases (Bose et al., 1998)
Uses  The flowers are used as garlands, stuffing pillows, and in distilling an attar used in perfumes. The timber is mainly used for constructional work like bridges and piles and for boat building and agricultural implements. The bark yields a dye for colouring fabrics. Oil from seeds is used for several purposes (Bose et al., 1998)
Wood properties  Sapwood is pale reddish brown and the heartwood which is sharply delineated from the sapwood, is dark reddish brown. The wood is very hard, strong, heavy and tough
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