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  Acacia ferruginea DC.
Vernacular name  Karivelam (Malayalam); Velvelam (Tamil); khaiger (Gujarati); khaiger,kanta chira,kaigu,banni,ansandra (Hindi) (Orwa et al., 2009).
Common name  Safed Khair (Khullar et al., 1991)
Synonyms  Mimosa ferruginea (DC.) Roxb.
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Mimosoideae
Distribution  Found in Gujarat and parts of Andhra Pradesh, and moderately common in Deccan, Maharashtra and Karnataka (CSIR, 1948).
Description  Normally a small, drought-resistant, deciduous tree, not more than 12 m tall and 50 cm DBH. Commonly attaining 35 cm DBH with a bole rarely straight for more than 2-3 m. Branches slender, armed with conical prickles; spine persist on bole until it reaches about 15 cm DBH. Twigs are zigzag at nodes, glabrous, green or reddish. Primary roots are long, thin, tapering, yellow to brown (Orwa et al., 2009).
Flowering season  March-April (Sen Gupta, 1937).
Fruiting season  November to February (Khullar et al., 1991).
Flowers  Flowers pale yellow in numerous lax axillary spikes, which are often panicles at the end of branches. Corolla white, glabrous, 2-3 times as long as the calyx (CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
Fruits  Glabrous, 7-18 x 2-2.5 cm, contain a dry sweetish pulp, dark brown and pinnately dehiscent, 3-7 seeded (CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
Fruit type  Pod.
Seeds  4 to 7 seeded, 0.5-0.7 x 0.35-0.5 cm, flat, ovate, oblong, distinctly stalked, greenish to brown and tardily dehiscent (CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  5900 seeds/kg (Khullar et al., 1991; Sen Gupta, 1937).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection 
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing  Ripe pods are collected from the trees, dried and seeds extracted, cleaned and stored (
Seed storage  Storage is best effected in earthen pots (
Viability period  12 to 16 months (
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment  Not required (Khullar et al., 1991).
Germination type  Epigeal.
Germination percentage  90% (Khullar et al., 1991), 85 to 96% at 30oC temperature (Girase et al., 2002).
Germination period  30 days (Khullar et al., 1991).
Nursery technique  After germination, it is transplanted to polythene bags. Larger seeds show better germination capacity than smaller ones. Since the growth is very slow, 1.5 year seedlings are planted in the field (Vanangamudi and Natarajan, 2006). The one month old uniform seedlings are inoculated with 109 bacteria/g of peat of phosphobacterium (Pseudomonas striata), Azospirillum or Rhizobium spp. before transplanting in the nursery show best volume response (Prakash et al., 1998). Foliar spraying of saplings with bioregulator Mixtalol 4 ppm at 45 and 90 days after sowing improves the growth (Chaplot and Mahnot, 2004).
Method of propagation  Direct sowing (Khullar et al., 1991).
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  The 'cylinder piston gall' of Lobopteromyia sp. on leaves (Rohfritsch, 1972).
Medicinal properties  The bark and the pods possess astringent properties (CSIR, 1948). The bark is bitter and traditionally used as hot anthelmintic, cure itching, leucoderma, astringent, ulcers, stomatitis, and diseases of the blood. The extract of leaves is astringent, styptic, stops suppuration, enriches the blood, useful in liver complaints, disease of the eye, dysentery, gonorrhoea, gleet, burns and scalds, beneficial to the alimentary and urinary tracts. The gum is demulcent, emollient, and nutrient. The pods and the extract from them are astringent and demulcent. A decoction of the bark of this plant, together with the Tamarindus indica and a few other trees is used as a gargle in sore-mouth (Kirtikar and Basu, 2003). Fodder: Leaves are lopped for fodder.Alcohol: The bark is steeped in jaggery and then distilled, yielding intoxicating liquor. Plants are used by tribals of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India to catch fish (Sharma and Singh, 2001). Seeds contain 2.6% oil (Saha et al., 1993). Leaf extract possess larvicidal activity against Culex quinquefasciatus (Vahitha et al., 2002).
Uses  The wood is mostly used in cartwheels, posts, beams and agricultural implements. The wood is very heavy and the tree yields a gum (Sharma and Singh, 2001; Orwa et al., 2009).
Wood properties  The sapwood is wide, white or yellowish white and the heartwood, which is sharply differentiated from the sapwood, is olive brown. It is very hard and heavy wood with straight to interlocked grain and coarse texture. Timber: Wood is very heavy (1120-1168kg/m3), straight grained and very coarse-textured. Sapwood is thick; yellowish white. Heartwood is olive-brown, turning darker with age. It can be seasoned well with considerable care.
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