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 chebula Retz.
Vernacular name  Kadukka (Malayalam), Harara, Haritaki (Hindi), Kadukhai (Tamil) Aralaikai, Alalai (Kannada) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Myrabolan tree, Harir, Harad,Gall nut (Chacko et al., 2002), Chebulic myrobalan (Bose et al., 1998).
Synonyms  Terminalia tomentella Kurz, T. parviflora Thwaites, Myrobalanus chebula Gaertn. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Combretaceae
Distribution  Grown in many tropical parts of the countries like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and in South East Asia (Bose et al., 1998). In India, it occurs in Himalayan tracts from river Ravi, eastwards, to West Bengal and Assam up to 1500 m. In Kerala, it occurs in moist deciduous forests up to 600 m (FRI, 1984; Chocko et al.,2002).
Description  Slow growing, medium to large deciduous tree with rounded crown and spreading branches attaining a height of 24 m and a breast height diameter of 80 cm (FRI, 1984; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  March to April (Bourdillon, 1908). March- June (outer Himalayas), July- August (Central India), April to July (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  Ripen at November - March (Bose et al., 1998). November to May (FRI, 1984; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Small greenish white, fragrant, bisexual, about 6 mm in diameter in terminal spikes. Calyx campanulate (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Hard drupe, ellipsoidal or ovoid, woody, obscurely angled, 2.5 to 4 x 1.5 to 2 cm (Chacko et al.,2002).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  Seed oblong, thick, obscurely angled.
Seed length  3 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  1.9 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  141-220 fruits/kg (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  The seeds are collected from the ground in the first fortnight of January as soon as they fall, or from the tree by shaking the branches manually, when the fruits turn yellow (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits are transported to the processing centre at the earliest (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The seeds are dried under shade immediately after collection (Chacko et al., 2002) and are separated from fruits by breaking the stony endocarp with a hammer (Sanjeev-Thakur et al., 1996).
Seed storage  Orthodox. Seeds store well in sealed tin and gunny bags for about 3 years. Seeds stored for one or two years often germinate better than the fresh seeds (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds are viable for more than a year under natural conditions (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  The seeds are treated by fermentation process for a period of 15 to 20 days (FRI,1984; Chacko et al., 2002) or the seeds may be clipped at its broad end and soaked in water for about 36 hrs (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al.,2002) or soak the seeds in boiled water and allowed to cool for 24 hrs before sowing in mother bed. Pulp removal and treating with cow dung (fermented for 7 days) are also efficient methods (Sagwal, 1999). Mechanical scarification result in the 60% germination compared to 20% of untreated seeds (Nainar et al., 1999). Soaking in cold water for 24 hrs before a 5-week stratification in cowdung and soaking seeds in water for 48 hrs and leave moist in still air until germination starts are also proved to be good for germination (Bhardwaj and Chakraborty, 1994; Edwards and Naithani, 1999).
Germination type 
Germination percentage  Up to 60 (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  15 to 30 days (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002). Germination will be completed in 15 days (Sanjeev-Thakur et al., 1996).
Nursery technique  The pretreated seeds are sown in vermiculite, sand, or soil. The germinated seeds are pricked out into polythene bags of size 22.5 into 17.5 cm or to 160 ml root trainers in a medium of FYM/red earth soil/sand (1:1:0.5), and kept under shade (Chacko et al., 2002). 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  An unidentified coleopteran borer attack the tree. Fallen fruits are often damaged due to feeding by monkeys (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  Species of Aspergillus, Cephalosporium, Mucor and Botryodiplodia theobromae are the important spermoplane organisms recorded (Mohanan and Sharma, 1991; Chacko et al., 2002). A total of fourteen fungi are found associated with the seeds. Methanol fumigation is found to be effective against seed borne fungi (Khan and Singh, 2001).
Medicinal properties  Mature green fruits, tender leaves, rind of the twigs and rind of the trunk posses tannin (Biswas, 1944), chebulic acid, ellagic acid, gallic acid and resin. It is used for bile trouble, bleeding, blood pressure, cooling wash of the eyes, cough, dysentery, piles, vomiting and worms.
Uses  The fruits are important as tanning material and with other substances they are used in dyeing. The wood is hard and durable and used for making furniture and other purposes (Bose et al., 1998).
Wood properties  Wood very hard, fairly durable, brownish grey with a greenish or yellowish tinge.Pores moderate sized, often divided. Rays very fine, numerous and uniform. Annual rings are indistinct (Bourdilon, 1908).
References  Get ...
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