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  Zanthoxylum rhetsa (Roxb.) DC.
Vernacular name  Mullilam, Kattumurukku (Malayalam) (Sasidharan, 2004; Chacko et al., 2002), Pepuli (Hindi) (Gamble, 1922).
Common name  Indian ivy-rue (Chacko et al., 2002); The Indian prickly ash.
Synonyms  Fagara rhetsa Roxb., Zanthoxylum budrunga (Roxb.) DC. (Sasidharan, 2004; Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Rutaceae
Distribution  Common in the deciduous forests at low elevations. It also occurs in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Sikkim, Thailand, Philippines and Malay Peninsula (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  Prickly-stemmed and fast growing large deciduous tree reaching a height of 20 m and a breast height diameter of 48 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  April; June to November (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruiting season  October-January (Rai, 1999, Chacko et al., 2002; Bourdillon, 1908).
Flowers  Flowers greenish yellow, 0.3 cm across numerous in large terminal panicles (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruits  Globose follicle of 0.6 cm across contains bluish black smooth shining subglobose seed, tasting like black pepper (Chacko et al., 2002).
Fruit type  Follicle.
Seeds  Bluish balck smooth shining subglobose seed, tasting like black pepper (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  2,000 seeds/kg (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Wind dispersal.
Seed Collection  The mature ripe fruits are collected by lopping off the branches (FRI, 1981; Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits are transported to the processing centre as quickly as possible. No special care is needed (Chacko et al., 2002)
Seed processing  Depulp the fruits and sun dry (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Intermediate (CABI, 1998; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds retain viability for more than one year in sealed tins under ambient room temperatures (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination type  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  15%
Germination period  10 to 20 days (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are germinated in vermiculite and pricked out into polythene bags filled with soil based potting mixture to produce seedlings (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation 
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  No information (Chacko et al., 2002)
Diseases  No information (Chacko et al., 2002)
Medicinal properties  Fruits are medicinal.
Uses  Seed viability period is 730 days 71.43 g is 1000 seed weight. Wood is used as match splints and it is also used for shuttles and picking sticks in textile industry (Chacko et al., 2002).
Wood properties  Wood yellowish grey, moderately hard, close grained. Pores small, rather scanty, single or in radial strings of 2 to 4 (Bourdillon, 1908). Medullary rays short, white, numerous, the distance between them about equal to the diameter of the pores. Annual rings distinctly marked by the darker autumn wood with few pores (Gamble, 1922).
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