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 odoratissima (L.f.) Benth.
Vernacular name  Kunnivaka, Pulivaka (Malayalam) (Sasidharan, 2004); Karuvaka, Nellivaga (Malayalam) (Chacko et al., 2002); Bas, Kalasiris, (Hindi), Karu vagai, Chittalei vagai (Tamil) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Ceylon Rose wood, (Chacko et al., 2002); Kala Siris, Black Siris.
Synonyms  Mimosa odoratissima L.f.(Sasidharan, 2004); Acacia odoratissima (L. f.) Willd., Albizia micrantha Boiv. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Mimosoideae
Origin 
Distribution  Widely distributed throughout India, ascending to 1500 m in the sub - Himalayan tract. It is common, especially along hill slopes in the dry deciduous forests of the Siwaliks, Ajmer - mervara, Khandesh, etc. It also occurs in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka (FRI, 1983). In Kerala it is found in the deciduous and semi- evergreen forests (Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  Fast growing, moderate sized to a large tree with a straight bole and dark green foliage. Sometimes reach a height of 24 m, commonly 15-18 m in height and 1.2 to 1.8 m girth with a clear bole of 7.5-9 m (Troup, 1921).
Flowering season  April to June (Troup, 1921).
Fruiting season  January to March (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Pale yellow, fragrant, in peduncled heads, sessile, numerous, in small globose 5-10 or more flowered heads (Troup, 1921). Flower heads white or yellowish white, up to 2 cm across, in umbellate or corymbose panicles of up to 15 cm long; calyx and corolla densely strigose with short hairs, the later about 5 mm long; anthers yellow (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Shortly stalked pods, thin, flexible, tomentose when young, glabrous when old, reddish brown or dusky green (Troup, 1921).
Fruit type  Pods.
Seeds  Flat, compressed brownish-black seeds, 8 to 12 (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed length  7-9 mm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  5-6 mm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  7,400 to 22,900 seeds/kg (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  Pods are collected from the trees by lopping off the branches. Freshly fallen pods can also be collected from the ground (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  The pods collected in cotton or gunny bags are packed and transported (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The pods are spread out in the sun until dry, when they open and release the seeds. If the pods do not split open; beat with a stick to release the seeds. Seeds are separated by winnowing (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox (CABI, 1998). The seeds can be stored in gunny bags in a dry place for longer periods (Chacko et al., 2002). Storage can be done in metal tins or polythene containers (Aswathanarayana et al., 1997).
Viability period  Seeds retain viability for long period. Seeds stored in stoppered bottle have given 1% germination even after 27 years (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Moderate (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Dormancy is due to a water soluble inhibitor present in the seed coat, in addition to the presence of an impermeable seed coat and micropylar plug (Kannan et al., 1996). Soaking 24 hrs in cold water (Kindt et.al., 1997; Chacko et al., 2002). IAA, IBA and GA3 has only a marginal increase in germination and plant percentages at lower concentrations (1-20 ppm) and has an inhibitory effect at higher concentrations (Tiwari et al., 1999). Seed germination is increased by the 3-min hot water seed treatment (Aswathanarayana et al., 1997).
Germination type  Epigeous (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  47 (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  10 to 17 days (Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Pre treated seeds are sown in germination trays containing vermiculite. Seedlings are potted in polythene bags of size 20 x 10 cm filled with potting mixture when they have a pair of leaves (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation  Seedlings, stump planting.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Moderate. Seeds prone to infestation in storage mainly by the bruchids Bruchus chinensis Lin., Bruchids andrewesi Pic., B. bilineatopygus Pic. and Caryedon serratus Oliv. (Chacko et al., 2002). Grubs of Bruchidius bilineatopygus cause heavy damage to the developing pods and seeds (Abraham et al., 1995). They cause damage by feeding on the endosperm and single grub feeds on 3-4 seeds in succession. Pupation takes place in seeds and adults escape through circular holes drilled on the pods. Field infestation of the pods was 90%. On storage the seeds extracted from infested pods showed a progressive increase in insect infestation.
Diseases  Nineteen fungi, actinomycetes and a bacterium are recorded on seeds. Penicillium sp. and Cladosporium sp. are the important storage moulds. Drechslera sp., Fusarium sp., Myrothecium sp., Phoma sp., Colletotrichum gloeosporioides are the important field fungi (Mohanan and Sharma,1991; Chacko et al., 2001).
Medicinal properties  The bark is astringent, acrid, cooling, depurative and expectorant, and is useful in ulcers, leprosy, skin diseases, cough, bronchitis, diabetes and burning sensation. The leaves are emetic and are used for abdominal pain. The fruits and seeds are sweet, acrid and astringent, and are given in biliousness and uterine complaints (CSIR, 1948).
Uses  Wood is used for construction and for making cabinet, good avenue species. It gives a dark brown gum. The leaves are used as fodder. Root bark contains 2,5-deoxyflavones, 7,8-dimethoxy-3',4'-methylenedioxyflavone (1) and 7,2',4'-trimethoxyflavone (2) together with a known flavone, 7,4'-dimethoxy-3'-hydroxyflavone (Rao et al., 2002). A. odoratissima can tolerate water stress (Sundaravalli et al., 2005).
Wood properties  Sapwood is whitish or yellowish white and distinct from the heartwood, which is light to dark brown with darker streaks and fairly lustrous. Moderately hard to very hard, heavy. Annual rings sometimes marked by a belt with few or no pores. Pores moderate sized to large, often subdivided, in rings of soft tissue, oblique strings less prominent. Medullary rays fine, rather distant, short, silver grained of long shallow plates (Gamble, 1922).
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