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  Barringtonia acutangula (L.) Gaertn.
Vernacular name  Attu - pezhu, Neer-pezhu (Malayalam); Adampa (Tamil); Mauvin-Kumbia (Kannada); Hijal (Hindi) (Chacko et al., 2002); Samudraphal (Hindi).
Common name  Indian oak (Chacko et al., 2002).
Synonyms  Barringtonia edaphocarpa Gagnep., Eugenia acutangula L., Barringtonia pedicellata Kidley (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Lecythidaceae (Sasidharan, 2004); Barringtoniaceae (Bose et al., 1998).
Origin  The tree is a native of Australia, Malaysia and India.
Distribution  Common in tropical seasonal fresh water swamp forests in many parts of India. In Kerala, it occurs in evergreen and deciduous forests (Chacko et al., 2002). Native of Australia, Malaysia and India, grows wild in marshy areas and near the banks of streams and rivers in warm humid climate in many parts of India and East Asian countries (Bose et al., 1998).
Description  A fairly growing tree, prefers moist soil, evergreen, medium size, 10 to 15 m high, breast height diameter 67 cm spreading and drooping branches (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  April to May.
Fruiting season  December (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Flowers are fragrant, dark scarlet, in pendulous many flowered racemes, pink to red, 8 to 10 mm diameter, on 20 to 30 cm long pendulous spike; calyx with 4 segments; petals about 6 mm long; stamens red or pink and numerous (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Fruit oblong, bluntly, quandrangular, angles rounded, narrowed towards the end, crowned by small persistent calyx, 2 to 3 cm long and each containing a seed (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type 
Seeds  Solitary seed with thick embryo.
Seed length  3.4 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  1.18 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  120 to 180 seeds/kg (Kindt, 1997; Chacko et al., 2002); 640 to 1,400 seeds/kg (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  Ripe fruits are collected from the ground and also from the trees (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits are transported to the processing centre soon after collection (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Seeds can be extracted from shade-dried fruits by pealing off the rind (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Intermediate (CABI, 1998). The seeds should be sown soon after collection as they lose viability quickly. If it is to be stored for a couple of months, the best method is to keep the fruits in a pit (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds are viable for about a month under natural conditions (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Not required (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination type  Germination of this species is peculiar. The shoot developed from one end of the horizontally lying fleshy embryo and the root from the other end. First the radicle comes out of the end, and when it is about 2.5 to 5 cm long, the shoot makes its appeara
Germination percentage  90 (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  42 days (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are sown in sunken beds at 7.5 x 7.5 cm to a depth of about 0.5 cm, vertically. The beds remain wet throughout. Germination continues up to 6 weeks. The seedlings are ready for planting in the next year. Seedlings attain a height of about 30 cm in a year (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  The fruits, powdered seeds, juice of the leaves and roots are supposed to have medicinal properties.They are useful in skin diseases, ulcers, leprosy, cough. The fruit is used to cure colic, nasal catarrh and other diseases. The root has emetic value and it also cures cold. The leaf extract is said to cure diarrhoea (Bose et al., 1998).
Uses  The bark contain tannin. Wood is suitable for agricultural implements, house building, boat, cabinet making and tool handles (Bose et al., 1998).
Wood properties  The wood is pale pink or brown without any distinct heartwood but wood near the centre is darker in colour, reddish grey. It is soft to moderately hard and light to moderately heavy wood. Pores small, often subdivided or in radial groups between the broad and very broad rarely fine and moderately broad, long medullary rays which form the greater part of the wood and show a handsome silver grain on a radial section (Gamble, 1922).
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