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  Vateria indica Linn.
Vernacular name  Vellappayin, Kunthrikkappayin, Payani, paini mara, perum piney (Malayalam) (Gamble, 1922), Dhup maram, Kondricam, Vellei kuntrikam (Tamil) (Bose et al., 1998), Safed damar, Dhupa (Hindi), Paini, Bilidupa (Kannada) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Piny varnish, White damar (Bose et al., 1998). Indian copal tree (Chacko et al., 2002).
Synonyms  Vateria malabarica Blume (Chacko et al., 2002; Sasidharan, 2004).
Family  Dipterocarpaceae
Subfamily 
Origin 
Distribution  Found in the evergreen forests of the Western ghats, but occasionally along rivers in deciduous forests (Bourdillon, 1908).
Description  Slow to moderately fast growing large handsome evergreen and resinous tree attaining a height of more than 30 m and a breast height diameter of 159 cm. Young branchlets and inflorescence stellately tomentose (FRI, 1980; Chacko et al., 2002; Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  January to April in summer months (Bourdillon, 1908; Troup, 1921; Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  May - July (Troup, 1921; Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al.,2002).
Flowers  Flowers white, fragrant, 1.5-2 cm in diameter, 1-ranked, in terminal, loosely corymbose panicles, 15-20 cm in length, calyx-segments lanceolate, obtuse; petals, spreading, slightly pubescent outside, stamens 40-50 fleshy, 3 valved (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Capsule, oblong, 7-10 cm long, obtuse, fleshy 3-valved, fleshy, filled with flat, one seed (Chacko et al., 2002; Bose et al., 1998). Polyembryony is reported in V. indica (Kader et al., 2000).
Fruit type  Capsule.
Seeds  White seeds which germinates readily.
Seed length  5.5 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  3.69 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  57/kg (17.54 kg is 1000 seed weight) (FRI,1980; Luna,1996; Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  As soon as fruits fall on the ground (FRI, 1980; Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  The fruits are transported as quickly as possible since they lose viability very rapidly (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Sound fruits are separated from damaged ones (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Most probably recalcitrant (Chacko et al., 2002). Seeds can be stored in gunny bags for about 10 days (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  In gunny bags, seeds remain viable up to 10 days (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Nil (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Not necessary (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination type  Hypogeal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  Up to 98 (FRI, 1980; Luna,1996; Chacko et al.,2002).
Germination period  25 to 35 days (FRI, 1980); 2 to 21 days (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Freshly collected fruits are sown in polythene bags of size 22.5 x 17.5 cm, filled with soil and maintained under shade and irrigation (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Moderate to heavy infestation by the weevil, Sitophilus vateriae. Infestation initiates in the developing seeds, proceeds with the mature beetles emerging out of the ripe fruits, virtually damaging the entire fruit. Alcidodes crassus, Sitophilus rugicollis, Nanophes dipterocarpi (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Coccotrypes borasi (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) are already reported as seed pests in India (Sen Sharma and Thakur, 1994; Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  Seeds are inhabited by more than 16 fungi. Includes, storage moulds (Aspergillus flavus, Penicillium spp. and Rhizopus sp.) and field fungi (Botryodiplodia theobromae, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Cylindrocladium quinqueseptatum, Fusarium sp., and Phoma sp.). Discoloured and rotten seeds are inhabited by C. quinqueseptatum and B. theobromae (Mohanan and Anil Chandran, 2001; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  Bark is useful in cough, asthma, leprosy, skin erruptions, wounds, ulcers, and anaemia. The essential oil extracted from V. indica oleoresin possess antimicrobial activity (Grover and Rao, 1981).
Uses  A semi solid fat,obtained from seeds known as piney tallow or Malabar tallow. Used for illumination and for the manufacture of candles. It is edible and used for cooking. The resin exuded by the tree is commercially important, called Indian copal or white Damar (Bose et al., 1998). Wood is used for tea chest, packing cases, planking and commercial plywood and for the manufacture of match splints (Chacko et al., 2002).
Wood properties  Sapwood white with a tinge of grey or red, heartwood light grey, rough, moderately hard, porous. Pores rather large, often divided, often filled with resin. Rays prominent, broad and distant, with very fine rays between them. The wood shows many concentric rings, all of which cannot be annual (Bourdillon, 1908). Medullary rays fine and broad, very prominent on all vertical sections, while on a radial section they appear as rough plates with white shining fibres between them. The distance between the broad rays is generally greater than the transverse diameter of the pores. Annual rings doubtful, though distinct (Gamble, 1922).
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