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
Index Page Prior Record

Scientific Name  Zizyphus mauritiana Lam.
Vernacular name  Cherumali, Elentha (Malayalam), Elandai, Yellantha (Gamble, 1922) (Tamil), Berii, Baer, Ber (Hindi) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Indian Jujube, Ber, Indian plum, Jujuba (Chacko et al., 2002). Elanthi, Common jujube (Bose et al., 1998). Desert apple, Indian Plum, Indian cherry, Indian jujubae (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Synonyms  Zizyphus jujuba (L.) Gaertn. (Sasidharan, 2004; Chacko et al., 2002; Bose et al., 1998).
Family  Rhamnaceae
Distribution  This is a species of the tropics. In India it is found to be distributed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himalayas, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, and in the Deccan peninsula. Indigenous in central Asia- India; China; Pakistan and distributed in Myanmar; Sri Lanka; Bangladesh; Malay Archipelago; Australia and tropical Africa (Bose et al., 1998)
Description  Fast growing small to moderate sized armed deciduous tree. Reaching a height of 20 m and a breast height diameter of 30 cm (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002). Branches drooping, armed with stipular spines; branchlets, petioles, underside of leaves and inflorescence are clothed with brownish white tomentum (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  April to October, September to October (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  October to March, January to March (Bose et al., 1998). February to March and October to December (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002)
Flowers  Pale greenish yellow, five starry segments of the flower-cup alternating with five tiny petals. Flowers greenish yellow, in short, axillary, nearly sessile cyme; calyx glabrous within; petals subspathulate, reflexed; disc of 10 grooved lobes; ovary 2-celled (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Fruit is a drupe, globose, 1.2 to 1.8 cm across, fleshy and yellow or orange yellow coloured (Chacko et al., 2002). Drupes varying in shapes and size, globose, ovoid or ellipsoid, 1.5 to 3.5 cm long, orange, or red when ripe; stone tuberculate, borny, usually 2-celled (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  Seeds 1 to 2 and ovoid (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed length  0.87 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  0.71 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  700 to 1,800 seeds/kg (FRI, 1981, Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Luna, 1996); 650 to 3500 seeds/kg (Karlowitz, 1991; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Wild animals, rodents and birds (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Seed Collection  The ripe fruits, which are reddish brown in colour are collected from the tree or from the ground (FRI, 1981; Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits collected in cotton/plastic/polythene bags are ventilated during transport (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Depulp the fruits and dry in the sun for a week. Depulping is done soon after collection by rubbing manually (Hocking, 1993; Chacko et al., 2002; Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Seed storage  Orthodox (Kindt et al., 1997). Seeds are stored in gunny bags and sealed tins (Dent, 1948; FRI, 1981; Ram Parkash et al., 1998) for about one to 2 years (Chacko et al., 2002). Seeds are extracted from ripe fruits and stored in polyethylene bags at room temperature for up to 8 months (Murthy and Reddy, 1990). Germination of stored seed is reported to be better than that of fresh seed because of after ripening (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Viability period  Seeds retain viability for at least 2 years if stored properly (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Soaking the de-pulped seeds in cold water for 48 hrs, treatment with concentrated sulphuric acid for 45 min (FRI, 1981; Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002; Murthy and Reddy, 1989), soaking the seeds in boiled water and allowing it to cool for 24 hrs (Luna, 1996 Chacko et al., 2002). Mechanical scarification, treatment with 1% potassium dihydrogen phosphate give 84 and 88% germination after 30 days and 203 days respectively (Ghosh and Sen, 1988). Seeds treated with 200 ppm GA3 give 98.76 germination whereas, 1.0% thiourea treatment shortens span of germination (Hore and Sen, 1994; Ashok and Prasad, 1997). Soaking extracted seeds for 24 h in water is also found to be useful (Mankar et al., 1997). Optimum temperature for germination is 30oC (Murthy and Reddy, 1990).
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  31 to 91 (Sen Gupta, 1937; FRI, 1981; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  15 to 87 days (FRI, 1981; Kumar and Bhanja, 1982; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Pre treated seeds are sown or broadcasted in germination trays containing vermiculite or on seedbeds to a depth of 0.6 to 1.2 cm and watered regularly. Seedlings are pricked out into a polythene bag of size 20 x 10 cm filled with soil and kept under partial shade till they attain plantable size (30 cm and above) (Chacko et al., 2002). Sand: soil: organic manure in the ratio 1:1:1 is used. Transplanting of seedlings is done about 6 weeks after sowing. Urea is applied at 1.0 g/litre ten days after transplanting to the seedlings 4 times at weekly intervals (Bisla et al., 1984).
Method of propagation  Vegetatively by softwood grafting, by seed, root suckers. Budding (Singhrot and Kajal, 1986).
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Beetles and larvae of several insects bore into dead wood or in green stems and twigs; some feed on foliage and defoliate; some larvae roll the leaves. Beetles of Cardiophorus spp. feed on flowers. Fruits are attacked by fruit fly Carpomyia vesuviana and beetle Adoretus pallens (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Diseases  Low (18 to 21.5%). 13 fungi are recorded. Alternaria sp., Curvularia sp., Colletotrichum sp. are the field fungi recorded on the seeds (Mohanan and Anil chandran, 2001; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  The bark is astringent, constipating and tonic, and is useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, gingivitis and boils. Fruits contain Vitamin A and C, sugar, protein and minerals.
Uses  In the Ayurvedic formulary of India for badaram and koli, root-bark, stem-bark, fruits and seeds of Ziziphus mauritiana Lam. are recommended for use in different formulations. Bark contains 12% tannin. Wood affords high quality charcoal and fuel (Bose et al., 1998). Fruit is eaten fresh or dried. Leaves and twigs are used as fodder. Leaves are also used to feed tassar silk worm. The tree is an important lac insect host. Branches are used for thorny hedge (Ram Parkash et al., 1998).
Wood properties  Wood is hard, pale yellowish or reddish brown without any distinct heartwood. It is a moderately hard and moderately heavy wood with medium coarse texture and interlocked grain. Air dry weight is about 700 kg/m3. Annual rings distinct. Pores small or moderate sized, scanty, often oval and subdivided. Medullary rays fine, very numerous, uniform and equidistant; the distance between two rays much less than the transverse diameter of the pores. Pores frequently joined by short fine concentric lines (Gamble, 1922).
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