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  Bischofia javanica Bl.
Vernacular name  Cholavenga, Thiruppu, Neeli, Nira, Mlachethayan (Malayalam) (Sasidharan, 2004); Kaen, Punkain, Paniala (Hindi), Thondi, Malachithiyan (Tamil) (Gamble, 1922); Thiyan (Tamil) (Bose et al., 1998).
Common name  Bishop wood, Tiger tree, Java cedar, West Indian cedar, Javanese bishopwood (Bose et al., 1998).
Synonyms  Andrachne trifoliata Roxb. (Gamble, 1922); Microelus raeperianus Wight and Arn.
Family  Euphorbiaceae
Distribution  The species is distributed in the Sub Himalayan tracts from the Jumna eastwards in West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and in Kerala, Tamil Nadu; Bangladesh; Myanmar; Malay Peninsula and Archipelago and the Pacific Islands (Bose et al., 1998).
Description  A large, deciduous tree, up to 25 m high, with spreading branches, rounded crown (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  March to May (Troup, 1921).
Fruiting season  Ripens during December to February (Troup, 1921).
Flowers  Flowers green, apetalous, dioecious, in axillary panicles; male flowers: sepals 5, concave, hooded over the anthers; female flowers: sepals 5, ovate, caducous; style long (Bose et al., 1998). Minute flowers, which are unisexual and usually dioecious.
Fruits  Fruits globose, brown and fleshy, 3/4 seeded, about 8 mm in diameter containing few seeds (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type 
Seeds  Light brown, smooth, with hard testa and a papery thin albumen.
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  9174/100 g (Troup, 1921).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection 
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing 
Seed storage  B. javanica seeds exhibit intermediate storage behaviour characterized as being tolerant to desiccation but sensitive to freezing temperatures. Freshly mature seeds survive when they are desiccated to 5.3-12.5% MCs. Viability of seeds with 3.7-12.5% MCs drop significantly at -20oC after 24 months of hermetic storage. The optimum seed moisture contents of B. javanica are 8, 5-13, and 5-8% for -20, 4, and 15oC storage, respectively. Longevity of seeds stored at 4oC is better than those at -20 and 15oC (Yang-JengChuann et al., 2006).
Viability period 
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment 
Germination type  Epigeous (Troup, 1921).
Germination percentage  The germination percentage of freshly collected mature seeds is 78% over 8 weeks under alternating temperatures of 30/20oC with 8 h of light (Yang-JengChuann et al., 2006).
Germination period  Between 10 and 18 days (Yang-JengChuann et al., 2006).
Nursery technique  Seedling survival in the first 2 yr is 16%. The high persistence of Bischofia in the shade, coupled to its rapid acclimation to high light levels, is an unusual combination (Yamashita et al., 2003).
Method of propagation  By seeds, vegetative method.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Bischofia javanica wood is succeptible to termite attack (Tarakanadha et al., 2006).
Medicinal properties  Liquid from the stem of the plant is used to treat children who have not waled by two years ago. The bark is used to treat stomach ulcers. The extracts from leaf is effective to cure ulcer, sores, toothache and some eye diseases (Bose et al., 1998). The ethanolic leaf extract of Bischofia javanica, partioned with petrol, dichloromethane and ethyl acetate shows a broad spectrum of antibacterial (against e.g. Bacillus cereus, Micrococcus luteus and Agrobacterium tumefaciens) and antiprotozoal (against Trichomonas vaginalis) activity (Khan et al., 2001).
Uses  A beautiful wood that does not warp. Timber for various building purposes. The heartwood is suitable for making brown wraping paper, writing and printing papers. Bark contains tannin and also yields a red dye employed to dye rattan baskets (Bose et al., 1998). Wood is used for dyeing bamboo basket.
Wood properties  Wood red, rough, moderately hard, heartwood darker, having a strong scent of vinegar when fresh cut (Gamble, 1922). Weight about 675 kg/m3. Growth rings absent. Tyloses present, often plugged with white substances (Anoop et al., 2005).
References  Get ...
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