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  Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.ex.DC.) Wt. & Arn.
Vernacular name  Neermaruthu, Attu-maruthu, Vellamatthi (Malayalam) (Sasidharan, 2004), Arjun, Arjuna, Kahua, Koha (Hindi), Kulamaruthu, Vella marda (Tamil) (Chacko et al.,2002).
Common name  Arjun, Malabar almond (Chacko et al., 2002).
Synonyms  Terminalia glabra, Pentaptera arjuna Roxb.ex DC., Terminalia berryi Wight & Arn. (Chacko et al.,2002).
Family  Combretaceae
Subfamily 
Origin 
Distribution  Common throughout the greater parts of Indian peninsula along rivers, streams, ravines and dry water courses. Found in sub-Himalayan tracts, Chota Nagpur, Central and S. India. It is also found in Sri Lanka (FRI, 1984). In Kerala it grows along river banks in the dry deciduous forests (Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  A fast growing large handsome evergreen tree, with a buttressed trunk, large crown and drooping branchlets attaining a height of 40 m and a breast height diameter of 302 cm (FRI, 1984; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  April to May (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruiting season  Ripens at February to May. December to May (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002). November to January (Bourdillon, 1908).
Flowers  Flowers are sessile, small white, honey scented in short, axillary spikes or in terminal panicles. Stamens 10, petals absent (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruits  Fruit is a drupe, ovoid to obovoid, 5 winged, reddish brown, glabrous, 4-5 cm x 2.5 to 3 cm with a hard bony axis and 5-7 wing (Chacko et al., 2002).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  One seeded
Seed length  2.5-5 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  1.3 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  176 to 375 fruits/kg (Sen Gupta, 1937); 1450 fruits/kg (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  The roseringed parakeet (Sushil-Kumar and Kumar, 1994).
Seed Collection  Seeds are collected from the trees or from the ground (Chacko et al.,2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits collected in gunny bags or cotton bags are transported to the processing centre as early as possible (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Fruits are dried under shade before storage (Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed storage  Probably orthodox. Seeds are stored in sealed tins and gunny bags for a year without much loss of viability (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Keeps fairly well for an year (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed pre treatment 
Germination type  Epigeous (Chacko et al.,2002).
Germination percentage  61 (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002) to 90 (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002). Seeds soaked in water for 24 h show 70% and seeds soaked for 24 h give 33 germination percentages (Mohiuddin and Ara, 1999).
Germination period  14 to 48 days (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  The fruits are sown vertically with the stalk downwards in plastic trays containing vermiculite and watered regularly. The germinated fruits are pricked out into polythene bags of 22.5x17.5 cm filled with potting mixture (Chacko et al., 2002). Otherwise, seeds are sown directly in polyethylene bags, containing a sowing medium of nursery soil and cowdung (3:1) (Mohiuddin and Ara, 1999). In order to produce healthy and vigorous nursery seedlings use N100:P100:K50 (Santosh Kumar et al., 2003). Seedling growth increase with availability of nutrients in the potting mixture (Neeta-Srivastava et al., 2002). Seedlings are raised in the nursery by transplanting the best looking germinants to 160 ml root trainers in a medium of FYM/red earth soil/sand (1:1:0.5) and requires about 20-30% culling in order to obtain uniformly good planting stock (Rao et al., 1998).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Not reported (Chacko et al.,2002).
Diseases  16 fungi, a bacterium and actinomycetes are recorded from the tree. Species of Aspergillus, Nigrospora, Mucor, Penicillium, Colletotrichum and Botryodiplodia theobromae are the important field fungi recorded on seeds (Chacko et al.,2002).
Medicinal properties  Bark is used in medicinal preparations (FRI, 1994; Chacko et al., 2002). It is used for asthma, dysentery, internal and external haemorrhages, blood pressure, leucorrhoea and ear ache, and acts as an antidote to poisons.
Uses  T. arjuna seedlings have a modest potential to tolerate alkalinity (7.6, 8.0, 9.5 and 8.4 pH) and could attain optimum growth even under limiting nutrient availability (Neeta-Srivastava et al., 2002). Bark is used for tanning and dyeing. The timber is used for carts, agricultural implements, water troughs, boat building and other domestic purposes (Chacko et al.,2002). A sample of the bark contain tannin 15.8, soluble non-tannin 8.2, and H2O 7.5 percent. Both hydrolysable and condensed tannins are present. The fruit contain about 8.2 percent tannin (H2O 10.8 percent.). The bark is easily leached, the resulting solution (analytical strength) having a pH of 4.7. Leather tanned with T. arjuna, alone or mixed with myrobalans, is very firm but of inferior colour (Choudary, 1941).
Wood properties  Sapwood is reddish white, heartwood brown, variegated with darker coloured streaks, very hard. Annual rings doubtful. Pores moderate size and large, sometimes very large, uniformly distributed, more numerous and larger than in Terminalia tomentosa,often divided, each pore surrounded by a ring of soft tissue (Bourdillon, 1908).
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