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  Calophyllum inophyllum Linn.
Vernacular name  Sulthanachampa (Hindi) (Gamble, 1922); Punna (Malayalam), Punnai (Tamil), Wuma (Kannada) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  Alexandrian laurel, Borneo mahogany (Chacko et al.,2002); Poon, Dilo oil tree (Bose et al., 1998).
Synonyms  C.guttiferae
Family  Clusiaceae (Guttiferae) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Distribution  Along the east and west coast of Indian Peninsula (Chacko et al., 2002). In Kerala it occurs in Kasaragod, Wyanad, Calicut, Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam, and Trivandrum districts, mostly along the backwaters and river banks in the plains. It is also planted as an ornamental tree (Bourdillon, 1908) (Chacko et al., 2002). The tree is distributed in Southern parts of India; Sri Lanka; Malaysia; East African Islands; Polynesia and Australia, more common near the sea (Bose et al., 1998).
Description  A moderate sized evergreen tree attaining a height of 15 m and a breast height diameter of 45 cm (Chacko et al., 2002), with dense shiny foliage.
Flowering season  Cold season, March to April (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruiting season  Ripens in about March (Bourdillon, 1908).
Flowers  Handsome white, scented, fragrant with variable numbers of perianth parts, polygamous 2.0-2.5 cm across, in lax, axillary racemes; petals 4; stamens numerous in 4 bunches and yellow anthers (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Fruits spherical drupes, 2.5 cm in diameter, pulpy, yellow when ripe (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  Oily and lose their germinative power early.
Seed length 
Seed width  1.5 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  195 seeds/kg, 137 to 212 fruits/kg (Nair, 2000; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Bats.
Seed Collection  Fruits are collected from the tree by lopping off the branches. Fallen mature seeds are also collected (Chacko et al.,2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits are collected in cotton / jute bags, packed and transported. No special care is suggested (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Fleshy pericarp is removed before sowing and storage (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Recalcitrant (CABI, 1998). The oily seeds loss viability quickly and therefore storage is not recommended (FRI, 1975; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  The seeds loss viability on storage due to their oily nature (Nair, 2000; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  No information (Chacko et al.,2002)
Seed pre treatment  Remove the seed coat before sowing (Chacko et al., 2002). Removal of the testa increase the germination percentage and seedling growth (Vanangamudi et al., 1984).
Germination type  Hypogeal (Chacko et al.,2002; Vanangamudi et al., 1984).
Germination percentage  90 (Nair, 2000; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  No information (Chacko et al.,2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are dibbled in vermiculite or river sand maintained most in germination trays. Seedlings are pricked out into polythene bags of 22.5 x 17.1 cm filled with potting mixture (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 seeds yield an oil in soap manufacture and the decoction of flowers is given to cure veneral diseases. The bark of the tree is applied to stop internal haemorrhages. The seeds yield a dark green, scented, thick oil known as pinnay, domba or dillo oil which is employed as medicine for the cure of rheumatism, ulcers and skin diseases (Bose et al., 1998). Seeds of C. inophyllum contain several known coumarins, including the potent HIV [human immunodeficiency virus] reverse transcriptase inhibitors costatolide and inophyllum (Spino et al., 1999). Extracts show antibacterial activity (Bibitha-Babu et al., 2002).
Uses  Timber is useful and seed yields an oil which is used for burning and manufacture of soaps. Wood is used for posts, beams, furniture and cabinet works.
Wood properties  Wood reddish brown, hard, close grained. Pores moderate sized, scanty arranged in groups or oblique strings. Medullary rays very fine and numerous, bent round the pores (Gamble, 1922).
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