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  Erythrina indica Lam.
Vernacular name  Mullumurikku, Kalyana murrikku (Malayalam), Pangra (Hindi & Marathi).
Common name  Indian Coral tree, Mullumurikku (Sasidharan, 2004).
Synonyms  E.variegata Linn., E. corallodendron, E. cuneata Grah.
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Faboideae
Origin  India (East coast) (Sasidharan, 2004).
Distribution  Indigenous to the coast forests in the W. ghats, Sunderbans and Andamans. The tree is native of India and Malaysia but it is grown in many tropical countries of the world, more frequently in Africa and Asia.
Description  A moderate sized tree of rapid growth with small black prickles.
Flowering season  April to May.
Fruiting season  Ripen about June; June - August (Vanangamudi et al., 2006).
Flowers  Flowers are pea shaped, red in colour, borne in dense racemes, and arranged in clusters of 1-3 on a tomentose rachis.
Fruits  Pods torulose, 15 to 30 cm long, stalked, green at first but turned to deep brown.
Fruit type  Pod.
Seeds  Seeds 1 to 18, brown, oblong and smooth. Medium and large seeds with light purple coat colour produce healthy seedlings with well-developed shoot:root system (Krishna et al., 2005; Bal Krishan and Singh, 1995).
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  1500-2200 seeds/kg.
Seed dispersal  By birds.
Seed Collection  Ripe pods are collected from the trees during August to September and seeds are extracted, cleaned, graded and stored (Vanangamudi et al., 2006). The seeds are obtained from the ripe fruits collected from the ground under the mother tree, during the month of June.
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing 
Seed storage 
Viability period  2 years (Vanangamudi et al., 2006).
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment  2 min immersion in water at 80oC is suitable for seed germination in Erythrina indica (Toral and Gonzalez, 1999).
Germination type  Epigeal.
Germination percentage  60 to 80
Germination period  1-2 year (Vanangamudi et al., 2006).
Nursery technique  Pre treated seeds are sown in mother beds. Germinated seeds are pricked out in polybags after 4-leaf stage (Vanangamudi et al., 2006).
Method of propagation  Stem cutting and by seeds. The natural regeneration of this tree is satisfactory. The seeds fall to the ground and germinate at the commencement of the rains.
Vegetative propagation 
Medicinal properties  Coral tree is used for some pharmaceutical preparations. The leaves have diuretic and laxative properties. Crushed leaves are used as an antidote for snake bite.
Uses  The bark yields a fibre used for cordage. The leaves and tender shoots are eaten as pot herbs and are also used as fodder. The trees are used as hedge plants as wind break in horticulture gardens. Bark of Erythrina indica contains six isoflavones (genistein, wighteone, alpinumisoflavone, dimethylalpinumisoflavone, 8-prenyl erythrinin C and erysenegalensein E), one cinnamate (erythrinassinate B), two pentacyclic triterpenes (oleanolic acid and erythrodiol), and two phytosterols (stigmasterol and its 3-O- beta -D-glucopyranoside) (Nkengfack et al., 2001). Seeds of Erythrina indica contains a novel prenylated flavone glycoside (Yadava and Reddy, 1999).
Wood properties  The wood is white, light, spongy, fibrous and soft. It is fairly tough and coarse textured. Air dry weight about 370 kg/m3.
References  Get ...
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