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  Spondias pinnata (Linn. f.) Kurz
Vernacular name  Ambalam, mampali, Pulimayu, Amara, Ambara, Ambazham (Malayalam), Pulicchi (Tamil) (Bourdillon, 1908), Kattumavu, Katambalam (Tamil), Amra (Hindi & Beng.) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Indian hog plum (Chacko et al., 2002), Bile tree, Wild mango, Traveller's delight
Synonyms  Spondias mangifera Willd.; Mangifera pinnata Linn. f. (Chacko et al., 2002; Sasidharan, 2004). Spondias amara Lamk.
Family  Anacardiaceae
Distribution  Found in greater parts of India either natural or cultivated. From the Sub Himalayan tracts up to Bengal, Assam, Andamans, Indian Peninsula (Bose et al., 1998). In Kerala it occurs in the moist deciduous and semi evergreen forests. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  A medium-sized to large deciduous tree with stout branches, attaining a height of 30 m with a breast height diameter of 111 cm (FRI, 1981; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  December to April (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruiting season  Ripen in September to October (Bose et al., 1998). December to May (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002). February - March, July to November (Bourdillon, 1908).
Flowers  Flowers are hermaphrodites. White, Polygamous, 0.5 cm across, pentamerous. Pollen grains are dusty. Male and bisexual on stout panicles; sepals 5-toothed; petals 5, oblong; stamens 8-10 (Darshana Nand, 2001; Bose et al., 1998; Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruits  Fruit is a drupe, ovoid or oblong, fleshy, smooth, 3-5 cm long, yellow when ripe. The stone is semi-woody, fibrous outside and pitted with cavity with 2-5 seeds (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  1-5, of which not more than 1-3 are perfect. All parts of the tree give characteristic aromatic smell. The seed is 2 to 5 celled, some times 6-celled, with 1 to 3 fertile seeds.
Seed length  2.5 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  2.1 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  126 to 290 stones/kg (Rai 1999; Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Deer, pigs, monkeys, squirrels and other animals.
Seed Collection  Fruits are collected either from the tree or from the ground (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits collected in cotton/plastic/ polythene bags are transported to the processing centre soon after collection (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Fruits are squeezed under water to remove the pulp. The seeds are then dried under partial shade (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Intermediate(?). Seeds cannot be stored for long. Germinative power decreases by 50% after one year of storage (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992).
Viability period  The seed has short viability under ambient room temperatures (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Suitable clippings of seeds increase the germination percentage (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992).
Germination type  Epigeous.
Germination percentage  25 to 40, 60 (Rai,1999) to 80 (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  30 to 229 days (Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds (fresh stones) are sown in germination trays filled with vermiculite soon after collection and watered regularly. Germination commences after 30 to 40 days. When the seedlings attain a height of 5 to 7 cm they are pricked out and potted in polybags of size 22.5x17.5 cm filled with soil and maintained under shade (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Low, due to nut weevil (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  Negligible. Eight fungi are recorded. Pestalotia sp., Phoma sp., Penicillium spp. are the important fungi (Mohanan and Anil Chandran, 2001; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  The roots are useful in regulating menstruation. The bark is aromatic, astringent, and are useful in dysentry, vomitting and muscular rheumatism. It is said to be a remedy for snake bite. The leaf extract is used to cure ear ache and the fruit relieves dyspepsia (Bose et al., 1998). The extracts possess antibacterial activity aginst Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas sp. and Bacillus sp. (Bibitha Babu et al., 2002).
Uses  Fruits are edible and are used for pickles (Rai, 1999). Wood is suitable for light packing cases, splints and match boxes (Chacko et al.,2002). The tree is extensively lopped for fodder. The tree yields a tasteless gum and the fruits are pickled.
Wood properties  Sapwood white or greyish white and narrow, heartwood, scarcely distinguishable from the sapwood. The wood is very soft and hard (Bose et al., 1998). Wood greyish white, extremely soft and soon perishable. Pores large, numerous, often divided. Rays fine, white, at unequal distances, distinctly marked as long narrow plates in the silver-grain. Annual rings not seen (Bourdillon, 1908).
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