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  Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) Nees
Vernacular name  Karpurammu (Tamil), Karpur (Hindi), Karppuram (Telugu) (Bose et al., 1998).
Common name  Japan or Formosa camphor tree (Troup, 1921).
Synonyms  Camphora officinarum Bauch. (Troup, 1921); Laurus camphorifera (Gamble, 1922).
Family  Lauraceae
Origin  Malesia (Sasidharan, 2004).
Distribution  Natural habitat in East Asia i.e., between 10o - 34o N latitude. The tree is indigenous in China, Japan, and Taiwan but it is grown in many tropical and subtropical countries as ornamental tree.
Description  A large handsome evergreen tree 8-10 m high, trunk short, often branching near the ground (Troup, 1921).
Flowering season  March to April (Troup, 1921).
Fruiting season  Ripens at October (Troup, 1921).
Flowers  Pale green fragrant flowers (Troup, 1921). Flowers small yellow, sweet-scented, in short axillary panicles, shorter than the leaves; perianth membranous; yellow glands on inner stamens conspicuous (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Sub globose drupe, 8 mm in diameter, black containing a single seed (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruit type  Drupe.
Seeds  Oily and retains vitality for few months, white inside, when cut (Troup, 1921).
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  2520 - 1440/ kg
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection 
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing 
Seed storage  Seeds show desiccation tolerance and freezing sensitivity. Fresh fruits have 100% seed viability when their moisture content is 46.3%. Seed viability can be maintained at the high value when they are exposed to open air for 1 month and when the moisture content of the fruits decreased to approximately 25%. However, seed viability falls to approximately 70% when the fruits are exposed to open air for 2 months and the moisture content of the fruits will be decreased to approximately 18% (Chen-ZhangHe et al., 2004).
Viability period  Seeds are relatively short-lived under field conditions. A maximum of 1% of seeds remain viable at 12 months post sowing under field conditions (Panetta, 2001).
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment  Soak the seeds in water for 24 hrs before sowing (Troup, 1921). Increase in germination and seedling growth is obtained with gibberellic acid, followed by kinetin and ethylene. IAA and ABA have little effect, and abscisic acid prevent germination (Bhandari, 1996). Removing whole seed coat give100% germination after 10 days whereas untreated seeds sown in the nursery begin to germinate after 10 weeks, reaching 50% germination at 13 wk and culminating at 84% after 18 wk (Bahuguna et al., 1987). Soaking fresh seeds in 15% hydrogen peroxide for 25 min significantly increase germination (51-58%) over that of control (0-11%). A long crack to the hilum along the ridge of the seed coat was found after the 15% hydrogen peroxide treatment (Chien and Lin, 1994). Seeds removed from the seed coat have a higher germination percentage than intact seeds and show increased respiration indicating that permeability of the seed coat is poor. Seeds immersed in 19% H2O2 solution for 2 h show improved germination rates of 21 and 66% after 9 and 17 days, respectively (Wang and Shao, 1984). The combination of cold stratification for 4 months followed by 15% hydrogen peroxide for 25 min is effective for increasing germination percentage (Chien-ChingTe and Lin-TsanPiao, 1999).
Germination type 
Germination percentage 
Germination period  In the laboratory, germination begin after 55 and 69 days in the light and dark, respectively, and it last for more than 3 months. The percentage of germination is only 16% in the light condition. Less than 2% seeds germinate in the dark and they germinate 2 weeks later than the seeds in the light (Chen-Zhang He et al., 2004).
Nursery technique  For raising plants from seed, fresh seeds should be sown in the nursery during late winter. At Dehra Dun sowing in boxes has proved more successful than sowing in seed-beds, but in either case a well worked porous soil is necessary, this consisting preferably of an equal mixture of loam, shifted leaf mould, and pure sand, a well mixed and pulverized (Troup, 1921). Copper-treated containers eliminate root circling and deformation in the species, and seedlings in treated polybags and tubes exhibit similar growth results (Huang et al., 2002).
Method of propagation  Seeds, layers, branch cutting or root cutting or by transplanting root suckers (Troup, 1921).
Vegetative propagation 
Medicinal properties  It contains tannin, it has an astringent effect, increases constipation unless mixed with laxative. It is known to be antiseptic, circulatory stimulant and has a calming effect in cases of hysteria, neuralagia and general nervousness.
Uses  The camphor oil extracted from leaves, wood, and root is used in the preparation of expensive perfumes and soap manufacture. Camphor is used in puja by the Hindus. The essential oil, hydrodistilled from leaves of C. camphora has thirty-nine components of which camphor constitutes 71.2% (Pino and Fuentes, 1998; Pandey et al., 1997). Seed of the camphor tree (C. camphora) contains cinnamomin which is a special storage protein (novel type II ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) (Liu-RenShui et al., 2002). Net height growth and net diameter growth of seedlings are enhanced in the early period of exposure to high CO2 concentrations and high temperatures. However, when seedlings are exposed for a longer period of time to this high CO2 concentration, net growth of seedlings is inhibited. Seedlings grown in very small pots also probably experience restricted root growth. The photosynthetic capacities of seedlings are reduced during long term elevated CO2 treatment. The carboxylation efficiency and light harvesting ability are also inhibited. The optimum temperature for the photosynthetic rate of seedlings grown at the higher temperature is higher, and seedlings grown in the elevated CO2 concentration also show an increase in the optimum temperature for photosynthesis (Sheu-BorHung and Chang-AnnLi, 2001).
Wood properties  Moderately hard, strongly scented with camphor and used mainly for cabinet works. Wood greyish-white, moderately hard, scented strongly with camphor, rather rough (Gamble, 1922).
References  Get ...
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