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 leucophloea (Roxb.) Willd.
Vernacular name  Pattacharaya maram, Vellavelam (Malayalam) (Sasidharan, 2004); Velvayalam (Tamil), Safed kikar (Hindi), Safed babul(Bengali) (Bose et al., 1998)
Common name  Cassic flower, Gand Babul
Synonyms  Acacia alba Willd., Acacia microcephala Grah., Mimosa alba, M. leucophloea Roxb.
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Mimosoideae
Origin  Native to Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam (CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
Distribution  In India, found in plains of Punjab and in the dry tracts in dry deciduous forests (CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
Description  A moderate to large thorny tree. Trunk stout, dividing into several large diameter branches. Open-grown specimens have a characteristic wide umbrella-like crown (Orwa et al., 2009; CSIR, 1948).
Flowering season  August to October (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruiting season  March-April (Khullar et al., 1991). November to February (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowers  Flowers conspicuous, light-yellow to cream or nearly white in colour, 7 mm across, 2-3 in a cluster in pendunculate glomerules aggregated in terminal or axillary panicles, 5-merous, corolla 1.2-2 mm long (Bose et al., 1998; CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
Fruits  Yellow, green or brown in colour, flat and fairly straight, slightly caved 10-20 cm long, 5-10 mm wide, sessile narrow, ligulate containing 10-20 smooth, oblong seeds, dark brown in colour, 6 x 4 mm in size (Bose et al., 1998; CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
Fruit type  Pod.
Seeds  Seeds about 10 per pod (Bose et al., 1998; CSIR, 1948), have 21-25% protein, 41.81 - 55.78% carbohydrate contents, fat content of 2.56 - 5.32%, fibre content varies from 2.75 to 5.21%, and ash content from 3.25 to 5.29 % (Tomar et al., 1996). In addition, have crude protein value of 26.5 g/100 DM, crude lipid 5.13 g/100 mg; crude fibre, 6.78 g/100 mg; ash 4.12 g/100 mg; and total crude carbohydrates 57.5 g/100 mg. The seeds are a rich source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and manganese. The predominant seed protein fractions were globulins and albumins. The essential amino acids, cystine, methionine, tyrosine and phenylalanine, are low and threonine, valine, isoleucine and lysine are fairly high compared with the FAO/WHO/UNO amino acid recommended pattern. The lipids contain high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids in which linoleic acid (51.1%) is the major (Vijayakumari et al., 1994).
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  45000-50000/Kg (Srivastava et al., 2006).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  Ripe pods are collected from the trees, before they split and disperse, dried, seeds extracted, cleaned and stored (Vanangamudi and Natarajan, 2006).
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing 
Seed storage  Seeds show orthodox storage behaviour and can be stored in room temperature (Srivastava et al., 2006).
Viability period  1-2 years (Srivastava et al., 2006).
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment  Seeds are heated with water (20 times of volume of the seed) to boiling and then leaving seed in water till cold; or soaking in conc. H2SO4 for 10 to 30 minutes after which the acid is removed and cold water is added. In A. leucocephala iodine treatments are also quite effective in improving germination percentage (Khan, 2001). Pelleting of seeds with diammonium phosphate (30 g kg-1 of seed), commercial micronutrients mixture (19.7 g kg-1 of seed), Rhizobium (50 g kg-1 of seed), Sevin [carbaryl] (2 g kg-1 of seed) and Trichoderma viride (4 g kg-1 of seed) enhance germination and seedling vigour under adverse soil conditions (Mani et al., 1999). Seed surface show a characteristic rugulate type of spermoderm pattern for all species (Vyas and Sharma, 1998).
Germination type  Epigeous.
Germination percentage  52-80% and it increase with increasing seed weight (Swaminathan and Sivagnanm, 1999).
Germination period  30 days (Khullar et al., 1991).
Nursery technique  Pre treated seeds are sown in primary beds. Shade is provided and excess watering should be avoided. When two pairs of leaves appear, it is transplanted to polythene bags (Vanangamudi and Natarajan, 2006). Or mature pods, collected from the trees are scarified with acids and sown in plastic pots filled with a mixture of red soil, sand and farmyard manure (Swaminathan and Sivagnanm, 1999). Inoculation of Glomus deserticola enhance nutrient uptake (Jitendra Panwar and Anil Vyas, 2002). Application of DAP [diammonium phosphate] (3%) and urea (3%) and phosphoric acid increased the growth in terms of shoot height, diameter at collar, root length, and root and shoot weight per plant (Mahnot and Chaplot, 1999).
Method of propagation  Direct sowing and entire planting (Khullar et al., 1991).
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Seeds are attacked by Bruchidius andrewesi (Verma, 1989; Orwa et al., 2009). Viscum acaciae is parasitic to Acacia leucophloea (Sanjai and Balakrishnan, 2001).
Diseases  Hapalophragmiopsis ponderosa cause galls (Dharmadhikar and Jite, 1992). Fomes badiuscause heart rot (Jamaluddin et al., 1985).
Medicinal properties  The bark is bitter, astringent and cooling and it is used in bronchitis and biliousness (Bose et al., 1998). Bark is also used for oral ulcers, vomiting, internal and external haemorrhages, dental caries, stomatitis and intermittent fevers. The tree yields a gum which is used in indigenous medicine. The gum is demulcent, and used as an emulsifying agent (CSIR, 1948).
Uses  The bark yields a fibre and it is used in the preparation of spirits, for making fishing nets and coarse cordage. It is reported to act as a clarifying and flavouring agent. Food: The germinated seeds are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. They contain crude protein 27% dry matter. The other major nutrient contents are crude lipid 5%, crude fibre 7%, ash 4% and total crude carbohydrates, 58%. The seeds are a rich source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and manganese. The predominant seed protein fractions are globulins and albumins. The essential amino acids, cystine, methionine, tyrosine and phenylalanine, have been found to be low and threonine, valine, isoleucine and lysine fairly high compared with the FAO/WHO/UNO amino acid recommended pattern. The lipids contain high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids in which linoleic acid (51%) is the major fatty acid. Fodder: A. leucophloea is an important dry-season fodder and pasture tree throughout its range. Leaves, tender shoots and pods are eagerly consumed by goats, sheep and cattle. Leaves contain 15% crude protein and 19% crude fibre. However, due to hydrocyanic acid toxicity A. leucophloea should not be used as a sole feed. Fuel: It is appreciated as firewood and is suitable for charcoal production (CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009). The HCN content of the green pods is 1208 mg/kg, dry pods 2022 mg/kg, green leaves 200 mg/kg and dry leaves 700 mg/kg (Vihan and Panwar, 1987). Commodities produced from the wood include poles, farming implements, carts, wheels, turnery, indoor construction timbers, flooring and furniture.
Wood properties  Wood is moderately heavy and hard, density 720-890 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content. Sapwood is yellowish white, heartwood brick red and it is used for agricultural implements, oil mills, carts and cart wheels. It is also used as fuel. Its wood is strong, heavy it seasons well and takes a good polish. The brick-red heartwood is very beautiful and is used to make decorative furniture. The pale yellow sapwood is perishable. The utilization of this species is limited because its wood has irregular interlocked grain, a rough texture and is difficult to work (CSIR, 1948; Orwa et al., 2009).
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