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  Albizia amara (Roxb.) Boivin
Vernacular name  Oonjal, Nenmenivaka (Chacko et al., 2002 and Sasidharan, 2004); Varacchi (Malayalam); Wonja Shekaram, Suranji, Thuringa, Turina, Usil (Tamil); Tugal, Tugli, Sujalli, Sujjalu (Kannada) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Oonjal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Synonyms  Mimosa amara Roxb. (Chacko et al., 2002; Sasidharan, 2004).
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Mimosoideae
Distribution  Occurs in the dry forests of Indian Peninsula from Maharashtra in the west to Andhra Pradesh in the east. It is common in dry mixed deciduous and thorn forests of the Deccan, Carnatic and Southern parts of India. It is also found in Sri Lanka (Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  Slow-growing, deciduous tree reaching a height of 9 m and a breast height diameter of 57 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  April to August.
Fruiting season  February to April (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Yellow fragrant in peduncled heads.
Fruits  Fruit is a pod, 10 to 20 x 3 to 4 cm size, linear thin and flat. It contains 6 to 10 ovoid flat seeds (Chacko et al., 2002).
Fruit type  Pod.
Seed length  0.83 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  0.49 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  14,000 to 27,000 seeds/kg (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Wind dispersal.
Seed Collection  Mature pods are collected from the tree by shaking the branches using a long pole with a hook (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Seeds collected in cotton/jute bags are loosely stacked during transportation (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The pods are sun dried for 2 to 3 days. The dried pods are beaten with a wooden stick to extract the seeds, and are then cleaned and stored for use (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox (Kindt et al., 1997; CABI, 1998; Chacko et al., 2002). Seeds can be stored in closed plastic or aluminium containers for two years (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992) without significant loss of viability.
Viability period  Seeds are viable for two years under room temperatures in sealed tins (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Moderate (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Soak the seed in boiling water and allow the contents to cool for 24 hrs (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002). Immerse in boiling water and cool for 2 to 3 hrs (Edwards and Naithani, 1999).
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  83 (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  2 to 7 days (Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Pre - treated seeds are sown in plastic trays containing vermiculite and watered regularly. When the seedlings are about 4 to 5 cm high, they are transplanted into the polythene bags of size 20 x 10 cm filled with potting mixture and kept under shade (Chacko et al., 2002). 1:1:2 ratio of sand, soil and FYM significantly influence the seed germination and biomass of individual seedlings of Albizia amara (Handa et al., 2005).
Method of propagation  Vegetative propagation. Cuttings are treated with IBA 200 ppm and 400 ppm concentrations give good rooting and sprouting (Handa et al., 2003).
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Bruchids are the important pests (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  The gum is used in eye diseases and ulcers. The leaves are used in ophthalmia and the oil from the seed is said to cure leprosy. It can also be used for the treatment of malaria and gastrointestinal diseases (Muthaura et al., 2007; Muthukumarasamy et al., 2003).
Uses  The tree yeilds a good gum. Timber is used locally for house building. It is an excellent firewood. High contents of linoleic, oleic and palmitic acids and low contents of capric, lauric and lignoceric acids were found in the seed oil (Porchezhian et al., 2001). The smoke toxicity of A. amara is effective against Aedes aegypti (Murugan et al., 2007). Plant extracts have phenolic compounds as well as significant antioxidant activity (Muchuweti et al., 2006). A. amara seed oil has high contents of linoleic, oleic and palmitic acids and low contents of capric, lauric and lignoceric acids (Munir Ahmed and Shadab Qamar, 1995). The tree reproduce freely from coppice shoots. Coppice sprouts are often produced in large numbers; as a result their size suffers and thinning is necessary. Natural reproduction by seed is usually good.
Wood properties  Wood very hard, sapwood large, white, heartwood purplish brown, beautifully mottled with alternate concentric, light and dark bands. Pores moderate sized, scanty, in patches of soft tissue, which are frequently joined, forming short, concentric bands. Medullary rays very fine, numerous (Gamble, 1922).
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