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  Prosopis juliflora (Swartz) DC.
Vernacular name  Vilayti babul (Hindi) (Bose et al., 1998). Ganda babool (Gujarati)
Common name  Vanni, The mesquite (Bose et al., 1998).
Synonyms  P. chilensis (Mol.) Stuntz., Mimosa juliflora Swartz
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Mimosoideae
Distribution  Native of tropical America. The tree is found in many parts of India, chiefly in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Native from Mexico through Central America to Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Northern South America and Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands. It has been introduced extensively in most tropical regions of Africa and Asia, brought to India about 100 years ago (Bose et al., 1998).
Description  Small to medium-sized evergreen spiny tree, distinguished by the wavy, drooping branches, 8-12 m high, with short crooked trunk and open flat-topped, or rounded canopy with spreading branches; twigs with paired or single straight spreading spines, sometimes none (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  First flowering commence from September-October and may continue to the end of February. Second flowering season is February-March when flowering is profuse (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  Once in November-January and again in April-June (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Flowers  Flowers are creamy white in axillary spikes 4 to 10 cm long. Flowers many, short stalked, greenish white to light yellow, 6-8 mm long, in spike-like raceme at leaf base, 7-12 cm long, cylindric; calyx cup-like, 1 mm long; corolla of 5 petals, 3 mm long, hairy within; stamens 10, thread-like (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Pods develop in bunches of 8 to 10, long narrow, straight to slightly curved, 9-15 cm long, green at first turning light yellow to brown at maturity (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type  Pod.
Seeds  Each pod contains 12 to 35 seeds, light brown, hard and shiny, ovate , flattened, 8 to 14 mm long. Seeds many, bean-shaped, oblong, about 5 mm long (Bose et al., 1998).
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  3,201 to 3,500 seeds/kg
Seed dispersal  Wildlife
Seed Collection  Ripe pods are collected from the trees by lopping branches or from the ground, during November to December, dried and seeds are extracted, cleaned and stored (Vanangamudi and Natarajan, 2006; Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing  Pods are spread out in sun to dry. Dry pods are beaten to break them into segments and winnowed to remove the impurities. Seed extraction from the pods is difficult because of hard endocarp. This can be done by long soaking in water, drying and then beating the pods to get clean single segmented seeds (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Seed storage  Dried seeds can be stored for about two years (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Viability period 
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment  Putting the seeds into boiling water and then allowing to cool and soak for 24 hrs. Soak seeds in concentrated sulphuric acid for 15 to 30 minutes or place in boiling water and allow to cool as they soak for 24 hrs. Avarage time lapse before germination for untreated seeds is 11 days. Pre treated seeds germinated very quickly, and germination concludes in 5 to 6 days (Edwards and Naithani, 1999). Sulphuric acid (at 95% for 14-30 min or 60% sulphuric acid for 30 min), and manual scarification by cutting or abrasion give germination >94% (Pasiecznik et al., 1998). Goat fed seeds show a germination of 82.5% and termite fed seeds give 65% germination (Masilamani and Vadivelu, 1997). Prosopis juliflora shows 48% germination after being exposed to 90oC (Usha Sacheti,1996).
Germination type  Epigeous
Germination percentage  75 to 95. Germination and seedling growth of Prosopis juliflora decreases and gets delayed with increasing alkalinity (Srinivasu and Toky, 1996).
Germination period  When cleaned (by removing the septum), uninfested and unaborted seeds are treated with hot water, 77% of seeds germinate within one week (Agrawal, 1996).
Nursery technique  The seedlings will be transplanted within a month into containers. Six months old seedlings will be ready for planting during rains (Vanangamudi and Natarajan, 2006).
Method of propagation  Direct sowing and stump planting (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Termites damage the seedlings. Larvae of Celosterna scabrator bore in living stems and roots, Brachus uberatus and Pachymerus gonagra bore in seeds (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Diseases  Gummosis is sometimes observed (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Medicinal properties 
Uses  This species is valued as a fire wood crop. In Americas, the pods are used for making flour for human consumption. Wood is suitable for farm implements, constructions, posts and poles, furniture, railway ties, tool handles, and any application demanding strengh and hardness. Timber is known as "Loyal timber of poor". It is an excellent fire wood and used to make superior quality charcoal. Flowers are a source of superior quality honey. Bark is a source of tannin (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Wood properties  The sapwood is usually narrow, yellowish white, sharply demarcated from heartwood which is purplish brown. The wood is rather hard and heavy with medium coarse texture and straight to shallowly interlocked grain.
References  Get ...
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