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 bellirica Roxb.
Vernacular name  Thani (Malayalam), Behera, Buhura, Bulla (Hindi), Thani, Kattuelupay, Thandi (Tamil) (Chacko et al.,2002).
Common name  Behera (Chacko et al.,2002), Belliric myrobalan (Bose et al., 1998).
Synonyms  Myrobalanus bellirica Gaertn. (Sasidharan, 2004).
Family  Combretaceae
Subfamily 
Origin 
Distribution  This species is distributed in the Indo - Malaysian region, Sri Lanka and Indo China. Within India it is found throughout the plains and in the lower hills in the Arunachal Pradesh and in the Western Ghats of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Widely distributed throughout India except in the arid regions of Rajasthan. Also found in Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indo-China and Malaysia(FRI, 1984). In Kerala it occurs in moist deciduous and semi evergreen forests up to 900 m (Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  A moderately fast growing large deciduous tree usually with a straight tall bole; often buttressed, attaining a height of up to 40 m and a breast height diameter of more than 125 cm (Chacko et al.,2002).
Flowering season  February to April (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruiting season  Ripens in February to April (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002). Ripens in November-February (Bose et al., 1908).
Flowers  Small greenish white with a strong honey smell in spikes 5-7.5 cm long (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruits  Fruit is a drupe, obovoid or sub globose, pyriform, ellipsoidal, grey velvetty tomentose 1.5 to 2.7 cm (Chacko et al.,2002).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  Oval shaped light yellow coloured seeds.
Seed length  1.5-2.7 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  2-2.5 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  97 to 176 fruits/kg (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Birds
Seed Collection  Freshly fallen fruits are collected from the ground (Chacko et al.,2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits collected in polythene, cotton or gunny bags are transported to the processing centre. No special care is needed (Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed processing  Remove the pulp and sun-dry the seeds (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Probably Orthodox. The seeds retain viability for about a year, in sealed tin and gunny bags (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  The seed is viable up to one year under normal conditions (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed pre treatment  Soaking the seeds in cold water for a week is beneficial (Rai, 1999). Scarification with 10% H2SO4 for 10 min give 48% germination (where as non-treated seeds give 6%) and a total seedling length of 41.9 cm (16.7 cm in the untreated seeds) (Archana-Sharma et al., 1999).
Germination type  Hypogeous. Seed of Terminalia bellirica give maximum germination at 25oC (constant) and 30/25oC (alternate temperatures). Germination percent of seeds is influenced by light/dark periods, with maximum germination at 12/12 h light/dark (Shashi-Chauhan et a
Germination percentage  86 to 100, 69 (Sen Gupta, 1937); 87 (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002). The higher dose of 0.3% GA give comparatively less germination percentage and energy. Freshly collected seeds perform better than the 3-month-old seeds (Shivanna et al., 2007). Seeds ha
Germination period  16 to 110 days (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  The pretreated seeds are sown in plastic trays filled with vermiculite and watered regularly. The seedlings are pricked out into polythene bags of 22.5 x 17.5 cm filled with potting mixture, when they have 3 to 4 leaves. Deoiled seed cakes of Brassica latifolia (mahua [Bassia latifolia=Madhuca longifolia]), Pongamia glabra [P. pinnata], Azadirachta indica and Ricinus communis applied as fertilizer to potted saplings (Naidu and Swamy, 1994).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Moderate. Damage is caused by Euproctis scintillans Wlk. (Lepidoptera: Lymantridae), larvae which feed gregariously on leaves, flowers, young fruits. Mature fruits falling on the ground, particularly the kernals, are eaten by porcupines (Chacko et al.,2002).
Diseases  More than 17 spermoplane microorganisms including 15 fungi, a bacterium and a few actinomycetes are recorded on seeds. Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Fusarium spp., and Phoma spp. are the important fungal pathogens. Bacterial infection also causes discolouration and seed rot (Chacko et al.,2001).
Medicinal properties  Fruit contain tannins, and alpha sitosterol, gallic acid and is used for leprosy, ulcers, fevers, eye troubles and headache.
Uses  Wood used for planking, packing cases, boatmaking and other purposes. The fruits are used for tanning. Cardenolide (cannogenol 3-O- beta -D-galactopyranosyl-(1 -> 4)-O- alpha -L-rhamnopyranoside (1)), is isolated from the seeds of Terminalia bellirica (Yadava and Kavita-Rathore, 2001). The seed oils of Terminalia bellirica possess phospholipid constituents phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol and cardiolipin (Khotpal et al., 1994). Kernals of Terminalia bellirica contain moisture 6.4, protein 33.5, fat 40.9 and ash 4.8% (Rukmini and Rao,1986).
Wood properties  The wood is creamy yellow sometimes with darker streaks, without any distinct heartwood. It is moderately hard and moderately heavy wood with coarse texture and usually straight grain. Pores medium sized and large, often divided, dispersed through narrow, wavy bands of soft tissue. Rays numerous, very fine, uniform and equidistant (Bourdillon, 1908).
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