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  Vitex altissima Linn.
Vernacular name  Myla, Mylallu, Milla (Malayalam) (Sasidharan, 2004),Mayilei, Mayila, Kadamanakku (Gamble, 1922), Maila (Bose et al., 1998) (Tamil)
Common name  Tall chaste tree.
Synonyms  Vitex alata
Family  Verbenaceae
Distribution  Found in Assam and Meghalaya and Deccan Peninsula. Found throughout Western and Southern India and in Sri Lanka (Bourdillon, 1908).
Description  A moderate sized to very large, densely foliaceous tree, often reaching a height of 25 m; young shoots villous with soft hairs (Bourdillon, 1908).
Flowering season  April to August (Bourdillon, 1908; Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  June to September (Bourdillon, 1908; Bose et al., 1998).
Flowers  Pale blue terminal panicle, numerous, small, nearly sessile cyme arranged in a large, lax. Flowers pale violet 0.75 cm long, borne in terminal panicles in great abundance (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruits  Small purple drupe often white dotted, irregularly globose (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  Mostly one seeded fruit, exocarp is thin and skin like, mesocarp is fleshy and endocarp is stony.
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  7,300 - 7,500 seeds/kg.
Seed dispersal  Great Pied Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) (Ragupathy and James, 1999).
Seed Collection  Collection from the ground or by lopping branches.
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing  Drupes are thoroughly washed in water and rubbed with hands to remove the pulp. Later drupes are dried under partial shade.
Seed storage  Can be stored in gunny bags or poly bags after proper drying.
Viability period 
Seed emptiness  Out of the four locules, rarely 4 seeds, most often 1 seed, and emptiness is 85%.
Seed pre treatment  Seeds are soaked in 300 ppm GA3 solution overnight. Fire treatment and alternate wetting and drying for 8-10 days also improve germination.
Germination type  Hypogeal
Germination percentage  20 to 30 for untreated and 66% for treated seeds.
Germination period  Starts 30 days after sowing and continues for 85 days.
Nursery technique 
Method of propagation  By seeds
Vegetative propagation 
Medicinal properties  Ethyl acetate extractives of the leaves possess tetrahydrofuranoid lignan, altissinone and an acylated flavone having anti-inflammatory activity (Chenchugari-Sridhar et al., 2005). The juice from the bark is used externally against rheumatic swellings and chest pains. Ethanol leaf extracts possess wound healing activity (Manjunatha et al., 2007). Chloroform and methanolic extracts of leaf and stem bark possess antimicrobial activity against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria (Ganapaty et al., 2005).
Uses  Milla is an attaractive wood and it is used for constructional work such as beams, doors, windows. It is a good fuel. The timber is used for construction, cabinet-work, furniture, turnery, agricultural implements and cart wheels.
Wood properties  The wood is pale olive with a tinge of olive brown without any distinct heartwood, but the centre darker. It is hard and heavy wood, smooth, close grained and polishes well, but is liable to split. Pores small, scanty, more numerous in the spring wood. Rays fine, numerous and equidistant. Annual rings marked by darker and denser autumn wood 1 or 2 to cm (Bourdillon, 1908).
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