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  Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb.
Vernacular name  Venga (Malayalam), Vengai (Tamil), Benga, Honne (Kannada), Bijasal, Murgasal (Chacko et al., 2002), Bija, Bijasar, Bijasal (Hindi) (Bose et al., 1998 )
Common name  Malabar kino tree (Bose et al., 1998), Indian kino tree, Andaman redwood (Chacko et al., 2002), Bijasal, Kino tree.
Synonyms  Lingoum marsupium (Roxb.) Kuntze, Pterocarpus biliobus Roxb. ex G.Don (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Faboideae
Origin 
Distribution  Throughout the Indian Peninsula in Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP, MP, Orissa, Bihar, W. Bengal and S. Indian states. Occurs in the greater parts of Peninsular India, extending from Gujarat up to West Bengal (FRI, 1983). In Kerala, it occurs in moist, dry deciduous and semi-evergreen forests up to 1,300 m (Chacko et al., 2002). In West Bengal it is seen in Sal forests of laterite zone (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Description  A lofty deciduous tree with spreading branches, forming a fairly large and rounded crown. A medium sized to large tree, up to 20 m high (Bose et al., 1998). Slow growing tree attaining a height of 30 m and breast height diameter of 96 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  May-August / June-September, July to October (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  Ripens in December-March (Bourdillon, 1908), February to May (FRI, 1983; Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Flowers are scented,fragrant, yellow, 10-13 mm long, appear in large dense bunches in lateral and terminal racemes; branches thinly-clothed with brown pubescence; calyx 5-6 mm long, finely brown down; the two upper teeth larger; corolla twice the length of the calyx (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Fruit is a pod, orbicular, compressed, winged, indehiscent, 5-6 cm across contains 1 or 2 true seeds (Chacko et al., 2002). Pods 2.5-4 cm broad (Bose et al., 1998 ).
Fruit type  Pod.
Seeds  Dolabriform, 1-1.3cm long reddish brown, fairly hard with a smooth shiny leathery testa. Seeds smaller and the wing broader than other species (Bose et al., 1998).
Seed length  10-12 mm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  5-6 mm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  1587 to 1940 fruits/kg (Sen Gupta, 1937; Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  By wind.
Seed Collection  The pods are collected by lopping off the branches or from the ground (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits collected in cotton or gunny bags are transported to the processing centre as quickly as possible. No special care is needed (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The pods are dried properly. Inadequately dried pods become susceptible to insect and fungal attack (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Probably orthodox. The seeds can be stored up to 9 months, sometimes up to a year in gunny bags (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds keep well for about one year (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Cutting across and soaking the pods in water for a few days. Soaking the pods for 72 hrs in cold water or in cowdung slurry for 48 hrs. Pods are tied up in a cloth or gunny bag and soaked in water for 24 hrs and the excess water is allowed to drain off. After 2 to 3 days, the germinating seeds are taken out and used for sowing (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al. 2002).
Germination type  Epigeous (FRI,1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  Up to 97 (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  7 days (FRI, 1983) to 60 days (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  The fruits are dibbled in germination trays containing vermiculite and watered regularly. The young seedlings can be pricked out and planted in polythene bags of size 22.5 x 17.5 cm. Seedlings reach a height of about 15 to 20 cm in 4 to 5 months. One year-old seedling can be transplanted with a ball of earth or can be made in to stumps (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation  By seeds and vegetative method.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  High infestation due to Eucosma sp., (Lepidoptera: Eucosmidae), the caterpillars of which bore in to the developing fruits and feed on the seed (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  Moderate (37-74%). Seeds are harboured by 36 fungi, a bacterium and a few actinomycetes. Storage moulds like Aspergillus sp., and Penicillium sp., occur in low frequency. Field fungi like Alternaria sp., Bipolaris sp., Corynespora sp., Cylindrocladium sp., Myrothecium sp., Phomopsis sp., and Fusarium sp., are associated with discolouration and seed rot. Phaeoisaria sp., Torula herbarum, Cylindrocladium parvum are the most frequently encountered ones (Chacko et al., 2002; Mohanan and Anil Chandran, 2001).
Medicinal properties  Leaves,flowers and gum constitute the drug. It is useful in treating diabetic patients. Bruised leaves are applied on skin diseases, sores and boils. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. It is locally applied in leucorrhoea and in passive haemorrhages. An aqueous infusion of the wood is said to be of use in diabetes (Bose et al., 1998 ).
Uses  Timber used for constructional, furniture, ship building, etc. Blood red or ruby coloured gum called Kino or Malabar Kino. Leaves make an excellent fodder.
Wood properties  The sapwood and heartwood are sharply demarcated from each other. The sapwood is yellowish white and heartwood is golden brown to occasionally reddish brown, with darker streaks. It is moderately hard to hard and moderately heavy to heavy wood with interlocked grain and medium coarse texture. Pores are moderate sized and large, often subdivided, scanty, resinous, uniformly distributed in pale patches, which are joined by, white, fine, wavy, often interrupted concentric line; marked on a vertical section (Gamble, 1922).
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