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  Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) Nielson
Vernacular name  Peelivaka, Alpashi (Malayalam), Kattamaram (Tamil), Batai (English) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Albizia, Indonesia Albizia, White Albizia.
Synonyms  Albizia falcataria (L.) Fosberg, Falcataria moluccana Miq., Adenanthera falcataria L. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Mimosoideae
Origin  Indonesia
Distribution  Native to Indonesia and is extensively planted in Andamans, Assam, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in plantations and sometimes grown in homesteads (Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  Fast growing, large evergreen tree reaching a height of 45 m and a breast height diameter of 67 cm with a straight cylindrical bole (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  March to June and October to December.
Fruiting season  January to May (Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Small, faintly fragrant, in axillary panicle, singly, not in heads.
Fruits  Fruit is a pod, 10-15 cm long, 1.8-2 cm wide, brownish, covered with reticulate markings, thinly woody and many seeded (Chacko et al., 2002).
Fruit type  Pod.
Seeds  Olive green, bean shaped, oblong, flattened and remain attached to the split pods (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed length  0.8 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  0.4 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness  0.2 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed weight  40,000 to 50,000 seeds/kg (Kindt et al., 1997; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Wind
Seed Collection  Ripe pods are collected from the trees by lopping the branches (FRI, 1983). Freshly fallen ripe pods are collected (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Pods are collected in cotton / gunny bags and are transported to the processing centre as quickly as possible (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The pods are spread out in the sun until they dehisce and release the seeds. If they do not split open, beating with a stick will help release of seeds, which are then cleaned by winnowing (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox. Seeds can be stored well in gunny bags in a dry place for more than one year (Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds viable up to one year (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Dormancy is due to a water soluble inhibitor present in the seed coat, in addition to the presence of an impermeable seed coat and micropylar plug. This can be effectively overcomed by physical scarification followed by soaking in flowing water for 24 hrs, manual nicking and acid scarification (Sajeevukumar et al., 1995; Kannan et al., 1996). Hot water soaking for 10 minutes followed by cold water soaking for 24 hrs (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  70 (FRI 1983; Chacko et al., 2002); 60 to 90 (Carlowitz, 1991).
Germination period  3 to 10 days (Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Pre treated seeds are either sown in seed beds or germination trays containing vermiculite and pricked out to polybags of size 20 cm x 10 cm filled with soil or compost based potting mixture. Seeds can also be directly sown in polythene bags and thinned out to retain the best seedling, which attain plantable size of 30 cm in 3 to 4 months (Chacko et al., 2002). Fertimel (slow release compound fertilizer containing N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S and the minor elements Fe, B, Cu, Mo, Zn and Mn) at 4 g per seedling increase height growth and diameter growth of seedlings (Masano and Mawazin, 1997).
Method of propagation  Seed. Albizia falcataria has good coppicing power. In general, coppicing ability is found to be more when pruning is done at a height of 60 cm (Gopikumar et al., 2002).
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Moderate. Grubs of Bruchidius bilineatopygus cause damage to developing pods and seeds by feedling on the endosperm and single grub feeds on 3-4 seeds in succession. Pupation takes place in the seeds and the adults escape through circular holes drilled on the pods. Field infestation of the developing pods showed a progressive increase on storage. Eurema blanda cause heavy defoliation in nursery (Varma et al., 1996). This can be controlled by chemicals such as quinalphos, phorate or carbofuran.
Diseases  Moderate (22 to 48.5%) (Chacko et al., 2002). Web blight (caused by Rhizoctonia solani) and seedling wilt (Fusarium solani) are observed in nurseries (Sankaran and Sharma, 1996).
Medicinal properties 
Uses  The tree is planted as a shade tree in coffee and tea plantations (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002). Stem bark of marine mangrove plant Barringtonia racemosa has two triterpenoids, olean-18-en-3 beta -O-E-coumaroyl ester (1) and olean-18-en-3 beta -O-Z-coumaroyl ester (2), along with compounds like germanicol, germanicone, betulinic acid, lupeol, and taraxerol (Yang Yi et al., 2006).
Wood properties  Soft and light wood. Texture is coarse and uneven, with deeply interlocked grains, sapwood and heartwood are generally indistinguishable. Timber is classified as moderately heavy, weak, not tough, moderately steady and very soft (Ananthanarayana and Kumar, 2004). Wood is used for paper, board making and kattamarans. It is a good fuel wood (Yang Yi et al., 2006).
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