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  Bauhinia racemosa Lamk.
Vernacular name  Mandaram, Mala-athi (Malayalam), Vattaatti, Archi, Arais (Tamil), Makuna, Dhorana, Amli (Hindi) (Chacko et al., 2002); Kachnal (Hindi) (Bose et al., 1998).
Common name  Kanchan (Chacko et al., 2002).
Synonyms  Piliostigma racemosa (Lam.) Benth. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Caesalpinioideae
Distribution  The tree is indigenous in drier parts of India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar and distributed in China and Malaysia (Bose et al., 1998). Distributed throughout greater part of India in dry and moist deciduous forests.
Description  Slow growing, small to moderate sized deciduous tree attaining a height of 7.5 m and a breast height diameter of 41 cm (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  March to June (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  Ripens during November to December, January to March (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Flowers are white, small, in terminal, or leaf-opposed the raceme; bracts linear, acute; calyx tube 6 to 8 mm long pubescent; petals narrowly oblanceolate, about 8 to 10 mm long; stamens 10, all fertile (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Pod 15 to 30 cm long, glabrous, blunt at the effects, tapering to the base, somewhat falcate, turgid dark brown when ripe (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type  Pod.
Seed length  1.0 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  0.6 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness  0.4 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed weight  6,440 to 8,000 seeds/kg (Sen Gupta, 1937; Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Kindt et al., 1997; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  When the pods are black in colour they are plucked off the trees (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Pods collected in cotton / plastic / polythene bags are transported to the processing centre soon after collection (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The pods are sun dried and beaten with a wooden mallet to release the seeds. Seeds are then cleaned by winnowing and stored for use (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox (CABI, 1998). The seeds are stored in gunny bags or earthen mud pots for about a year. Although, the seeds retain viability to some extent for one year, use of fresh seed is recommended (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seed is viable up to one year in sealed tins under natural conditions (Chacko et al., 2002). Seed viability was calculated after performing tetrazolium test (Chitra-Arya et al., 2006).
Seed emptiness  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Hot water soaking for one minute followed by cold water for 24 hrs (Kindt,1997 ; Chacko et al., 2002). The seeds should be soaked in cold water for 24 hrs.
Germination type  Epigeous (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  27 to 95 (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002); 60 to 95.
Germination period  4 to 10 days (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Pre-treated seeds are sown in germination trays containing vermiculite and watered regularly. When the seedlings emerge, they are pricked out into polythene bags of size 20 x 10 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  Moderate (18 to 39%). Six storage moulds including four species of Aspergillus are recorded on seeds (Mohanan and Anil Chandran, 2001; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  Bark is astringent, used in dysentery. Leaves with onions are used in diarrhoea and the decoction of leaves is used in malaria (Bose et al., 1998).
Uses  The leaves of the plants are sold in the market to warp tobacco for smoking (Bose et al., 1998).
Wood properties  The wood is light brown with irregular dark patches near the centre. It is moderately hard and moderately heavy wood with rather coarse texture and interlocked grain.
References  Get ...
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