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 catappa Linn.
Vernacular name  Badam, Thalli thenga (Bourdillon, 1908) (Malayalam), Vathakottai natavadom (Tamil), Badam (Hindi), Adamaram (Kannada), Malabar almond (English) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Indian almond, Country almond (Chacko et al., 2002). Barbados almond, Tropical almond (Bose et al., 1998).
Synonyms  Phytolacca javanica Osbeck, Terminalia mauritiana Blanco, T. moluccana Lam. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Combretaceae
Distribution  Common littoral tree occurring along the tropical sea coasts of Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the Seychelles to India, Malaysia, Philippines, Moluccas and Timor. Native of the Andaman, adjacent islands and Malay Peninsula. Planted extensively in tropical India both as avenue and fruit (Bose et al., 1998; Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  A large handsome tall deciduous tree, up to 25 m high, with horizontally spreading whorled branches from the main stem; trunk often buttressed at the base (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  February - May and October - November (Bourdillon, 1908). March till the end of June (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  Ripen at June - July, and again in December to January (Chacko et al., 2002). July to October (Bose et al., 1998), January to July (Bourdillon, 1908).
Flowers  White in axillary spikes. The upper flowers male, lower ones bisexual; calyx tube with 5 small teeth (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Yellowish, ellipsoidal drupe, somewhat laterally compressed, 5-6 x 3-4 cm size with a porous fleshy pericarp and hard endocarp enclosing the edible seed (Chacko et al., 2002).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  Nut-like seeds covered with fibrous and fleshy rind (Bose et al., 1998).
Seed length  3.8-6.3 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  150 to 850 seeds/kg (Kindt et al.,1997); 176 seeds/kg (FRI, 1984 Chacko et al., 2002). Seed germination and seedling height is directly correlated with seed weight (Abdul-Assis et al., 1992)
Seed dispersal  Birds (Meehan et al., 2002).
Seed Collection  Collect the mature ripe fruits from the tree by shaking the branches manually. Fruits are also collected from the ground (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits are transported in ventilated containers as quickly as possible to the processing centre (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  De-pulp the fruits and dry them under shade (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox (CABI, 1998). The depulped fruits can be stored for about six months (Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Under ambient temperatures it is viable for six months (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Soak the seeds in cold water for 24 hrs (Chacko et al., 2002). Partial removal of the seed coat (Prins et al., 1994).
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  30 to 80 (Carlowitz, 1991; Chacko et al., 2002). Germination percent in garden soil and with untreated seeds is 63% (Lanting, 1982).
Germination period  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are sown in germination trays containing vermiculite and watered regularly. Seedlings are trasplanted into polybags of size 22.5 cm x 17.5 cm filled with soil based potting mixture (Chacko et al., 2002). Seedlings grown in potting medium of 3 kg sand/soil/FYM in equal proportions in plastic containers reach a mean height of 45.2 cm and 2.7 cm girth (Gopakumar and Gopikumar, 1993).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  No information (Chacko et al., 2002). Cryptococcus neoformans remain viable for 100 days after infection in almond trees (Huerfano et al., 2001).
Medicinal properties  The fluid from the bark is used to treat diabetes and is used as a tonic. The juice of the young leaves is used to cure skin diseases and for the treatment of headache and colic. The bark extract is said to be a remedy for dysentery and bilious fever (Bose et al., 1998). Aqueous extracts of fruit possess antidiabetic potential (Nagappa et al., 2003). The kernel of seeds has aphrodisiac activity and is useful in the treatment of certain forms of sexual inadequacies, such as premature ejaculation (Ratnasooriya and Dharmasiri, 2000).
Uses  The timber is used in house building and in general carpentary. It is suitable for rafter, scantlings, posts and beams. The seeds are edible (FRI, 1984 Chacko et al., 2002). The leaves contain a colouring matter used for colouring silks and wools. The tree commonly planted on roadside and in parks and gardens as ornamental tree (Bose et al., 1998). The seeds contain low levels of essentially non-toxic lectin, moderate amounts of trypsin inhibitors and negligible quantities of alpha-amylase inhibitors and have therefore great potential as dietary protein source for man and livestock (Grant et al., 1995). Seeds are used for the production of edible oil (Hasei, 1981). Terminalia catappaseeds are rich in saturated fatty acids (Gupta et al., 1983).
Wood properties  The wood is greyish or pinkish brown with inconspicuous streaks, without any distinct heartwood. It is moderately hard and moderately heavy wood. It is a diffuse porous wood with growth rings delimited by dark coloured fibrous tissues and sometimes also by interrupted lines of soft tissues. Pores moderate sized, scanty, joined by wavy bands of soft texture. Rays fine (Bourdillon, 1908).
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