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  Delonix regia (Boj.) Rafin.
Vernacular name  Alasippu, Poomaram (Malayalam), Thanga mohar, Mayir konnai (Tamil), Gulmohar (Hindi), (Chacko et al., 2002). Fire tree, flame tree, gold mohar, royal peacock (English).
Common name  Royal poinciana, Peacock flower, Flamboyant, Gulmohar, Gold Mohar, flame tree (Chacko et al., 2002; Bose et al., 1998).
Synonyms  Poinciana regia Bojer. ex Hook. (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Caesalpinioideae
Origin  Madagascar (Sasidharan, 2004).
Distribution  Native of Madagascar and widely planted in both dry and moist regions of India as an avenue and garden tree (Luna, 1996 ; Chacko et al., 2002). In Kerala, it is planted along roadsides and gardens (Chacko et al., 2002). Introduced to India in1800s. Seen both in dry and moist regions of tropical India up to Himalayan subtracts.
Description  Large deciduous ornamental tree with broad spreading umbrella shaped crown of light feathery foliage (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season  At the end of the hot season, May or early June.
Fruiting season  January to October (Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Large, 7-10 cm across, deep crimson, flaming red, with spreading petals, in large corymbs; stamens 10, red (Bose et al., 1998).
Fruits  Pods 30-60 cm x 3.8-7.6 cm, broad, ending in a short beak (Chacko et al., 2002), thick and firm, dark brown or nearly black.
Fruit type  Pod.
Seeds  Arranged at right angle to the length of the pod; oblong, transversely mottled, with bony testa (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed length  1.72 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  0.59 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  1,600 to 2,100 seeds/kg (Kindt et al., 1997; Chacko et al., 2002); 2,190 to 3,245 (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal 
Seed Collection  Pods are collected from the trees by lopping the branches (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Pods are collected in cotton / plastic / polythene / gunny bags are transported without special care (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The pods are dried for 2 to 3 days in sun and beaten up to separate the seeds (Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox (Kindt et al., 1997; CABI, 1998). Seeds retain viability for more than 5 years (Luna, 1996) and can be stored in sealed plastic containers (Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seeds remain viable for more than one year (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed emptiness  Low (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Seeds are soaked in boiled water for 5 days or in cold water for 10 days (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002). Seeds are acid scarified for 100 min and soaked in 500 ppm gibberellic acid (Tagad and Mate, 2005).
Germination type  Epigeal (Chacko et al.,2002). Greater initial reserves within seeds perform a greater role in early germination (Singh and Arunachalam, 2002).
Germination percentage  25 to 68 (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination period  12 to 349 days (Luna, 1996; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Pre-treated seeds are sown in germination trays filled with the vermiculite and watered regularly. The seedlings are pricked out into polythene bags of size 22.5 x 17.5 cm filled with soil and kept under shade (Chacko et al., 2002).
Method of propagation 
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Low (Chacko et al.,2002).
Diseases  Moderate (32 to 50.5%); 12 fungi and a bacterium are recorded. Chaetomium sp., Aspergillus restrictus, Fusarium sp., Chlamydomyces palmarum are the important fungi (Mohanan and Anil Chandran, 2001; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties 
Uses  Ornamental tree. The seeds contain a gum which may find use in food and textile industries. The flowers and buds are used for flavouring food. The wood takes a fine finish and used for making combs and matches. Natural dyes extracted from flower parts (Purohit et al., 2007). Seed germination and early seedling development is better under 100% light intensity (Aref, 2002).
Wood properties  The wood is white, soft and light. It is a diffuse porous wood with growth rings delimited by fine lines of soft tissue. The pores are moderately large to small, moderately few.
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