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  Chukrasia tabularis A.Juss.
Vernacular name  Chuvannagil, Karadi, Malavempu (Malayalam); Madagirivembu, Vedivembu (Tamil); Dalmara (Kannada); Chikrasi (Hindi) (Chacko et al.,2002).
Common name  Chittagong wood, Indian red wood (Chacko et al.,2002); Chickrassy.
Synonyms  Chukrasia velutina Wight & Arn., Swietenia chikrassa Roxb. (Chacko et al., 2002; Gamble, 1922).
Family  Meliaceae
Distribution  Occurs in North East India and Western Ghats. It is also in Bangladesh and Myanmar. In Kerala, it occurs in the Kannur and Palaghat districts; confined to the highlands of northern Kerala (Chacko et al.,2002).
Description  Fast growing very tall handsome deciduous tree of 25 m height and a breast height diameter of 133 cm (FRI, 1981; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowering season  April to May (Bourdillon, 1908).
Fruiting season  January to March (Chacko et al., 2002). December to January (Bourdillon, 1908).
Flowers  Yellowish in large, spreading terminal panicles, shorter than the leaves. Flowers in terminal panicles, yellowish or pinkish white, 4-5-merous; petals erect, 1.2 cm long; staminal tube cylindric, with short teeth; ovary cylindric, usually 3-celled (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Woody capsule, dark brown, wrinkled and rough, splits into 3 valves (Chacko et al., 2002; Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type  Capsule.
Seeds  Seeds numerous, flat, closely packed and winged.
Seed length  3 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  1 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  30,000 to 53,000 seeds/kg (Kindt et al., 1997; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Wind dispersal.
Seed Collection  Ripe capsules are collected from the tree (Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Capsules collected in cotton / plastic bags are packed and transported (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  Capsules are spread out in the sun for 2 to 3 days to dehisce and the seeds are separated by gentle thrashing. Care should be taken to protect them from being blown away by wind (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Intermediate / recalcitrant (CABI, 1998). Seeds can be stored in gunny bags for 3 months (Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds are viable for about 3 months (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Not necessary (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  23 to 90 (Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  7 to 10 days (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are sown by broadcasting in open raised nursery beds of soil, sand and farmyard manure (2:1:1) and lightly covered with soil and river sand (2:1). Beds are mulched with dry leaves and pine needles. Watering and weeding were done when required. When the seedlings are about 5 to 8 cm height, they are transplanted into polythene bags of 22.5 x 17.5 cm size filled with potting mixture (Chacko et al., 2002; Beniwal et al., 1989).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Low to moderate (Chacko et al.,2002).
Diseases  Fusarium moniliforme, Phoma sp., Macrophoma sp. were recorded (Mohanan and Sharma, 1991; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  Medicinally the bark is reported to be an astringent.
Uses  It is fairly strong and hard wood. The timber is suitable for high class furniture and bark yield a gum and tannin. Young leaves and bark contain 22% and 15% tannin respectively (Bose et al., 1998).
Wood properties  The sapwood is pale yellow with a pinkish tinge. It gradually merges into the hard wood which is yellowish brown to dark brown often with darker streaks. It is a moderately hard and moderately heavy wood with fine texture and interlocked grain. Medullary rays fine, uniform, mostly equidistant, slightly undulating; the distance between the rays generally equal to the transverse diameter of the pores (Gamble, 1922). Annual rings distinctly marked by a line (Bourdillon, 1908).
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