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  Ficus religiosa L.
Vernacular name  Arayal (Malayalam), Arasu (Tamil), Pipal (Hindi) (Chacko et al.,2002).
Common name  Peepal tree, Sacred fig, Bodhi (Chacko et al.,2002); Arayal.
Synonyms  Urostigma religiosum (L.) Gasp.; Ficus affinior Griff.; Urostigma affine Miq.; Ficus rhynchophylla Steud.; Ficus superstitiosa Link (Chacko et al., 2002).
Family  Moraceae
Subfamily 
Origin  E. Himalayas; S. E. Asia (Sasidharan, 2004).
Distribution  Occurs in the sub-Himalayan region, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Introduced and planted elsewhere. In Kerala, it is mostly planted in the temple premises (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002).
Description  Fast growing, large glabrous spreading deciduous tree attaining a height of more than 25 m and a breast height diameter of 300 cm (Bose et al., 1998).
Flowering season 
Fruiting season  April, also October to November, October to June (Chacko et al.,2002).
Flowers 
Fruits  Fruit is a hypanthodium, ripe fruits are dark brown in colour.
Fruit type  Hypanthodium.
Seeds  Minute seeds (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed length  No information (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  210000 to 220000 seeds/kg (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Birds and Monkeys, particularly green pigeons.
Seed Collection  Ripe fruits, which are dark purple in colour are collected from the ground (Chacko et al.,2002).
Transportation of seeds  Fruits collected in plastic / cotton bags are transported to the prosessing centre as quickly as possible (Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed processing  Ripe fruits are crushed in water and washed to get clean seeds. The seeds then dried (Chacko et al.,2002).
Seed storage  No information. Seeds are stored in airtight containers (Hocking, 1993; Chacko et al., 2002).
Viability period  Seed retain viability for about 2 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  Up to 90 (Chacko et al.,2002).
Germination period  10 to 15 days (Chacko et al.,2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are sown in germination trays containing perlite and watered. Seeds can also be sown directly in 22.5 x 17.5 cm bags. Results are poor when sown in nursery beds and hence this should always be discouraged. If germination is delayed by more than twenty days resowing should be done without further delay. Seedlings will be ready in two months for pricking out. The container seedlings should be well irrigated (Chacko et al.,2002).
Method of propagation  It is propagated by cuttings, by seeds and vegetative method.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Low. Dry fruits are attacked by the fig moth Ephestia cautella Wlk. (Lepidoptera: Phycitidae) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  No information (Chacko et al.,2002).
Medicinal properties  Every part of the tree can be used as medicine. Leaves and tender shoots used as purgative and in skin diseases. It is used for ulcers. Bark is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea, diarrhoea and dysentery.
Uses  The tree yield latex. The tree is one of the recorded hosts of the Indian lac insect and the leaves are used to feed camels and elephants. Wood is less used and is suitable for match boxes, packing cases. This is a sacred tree to the Hindus and Buddhists and therefore, often planted near temples (Bose et al., 1998).
Wood properties  Wood greyish white, moderately hard (Gamble, 1922).
References  Get ...
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