Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii)
Chir pine scientifically known as Pinus roxburghii (family Coniferae) is one of the six pines of India and the most widely occurring. It is also known as Himalayan long needle pine, long leaved Indian pine, Indian chir pine, chir or chil. The vernacular names of the species are: Kulhdin, sarol, sirli (Garhwal and Jaunsar); Chir (Hindi and Punjabi); Nyit (Lepcha) and Dhup (Nepali).
Chir pine is a large evergreen tree. The tree crown is elongated and more or less pyramidal upto middle age but later becomes spreading, rounded or umbrella-shaped with a massive branch system. Under favourable conditions, it attains large dimensions and forms a straight cylindrical bole. Trees
up to 55 m in height and 3.5 m in girth have been recorded in favourable localities. The oldest chir tree of 406 years exists in Kulu Forest Division (Himachal Pradesh). Age of another old tree located in Chakrata Forest Division (Uttar Pradesh) has been estimated to be 335 years.
Chir pine is the fastest growing among the conifers found in the Himalayas. The species is hardy, frugal in its soil requirements and adapted to degraded sites which are deficient in nutrients. It grows with ease both on deep soils which should be well drained as well as on skeletal soils. Being a light demanding species, it easily rehabilitates exposed sites where most of broad leaved species rarely succeed. Chir pine being highly resistant to fire, is better suited for tracts where complete fire protection is difficult to ensure. In plantations Chir trees grow faster resulting in higher volume production compared to natural forests. It is thus the only suitable species for afforestation of degraded barren slopes of Siwaliks and lower Himalayas.
Chir pine provides a variety of wide ranged goods and services to the people. In fact, all parts of the tree are valuable and are used in one form or the other. It is a popular timber of North India, especially in hills and is used for various purposes including house building, as rafters, poles and posts, doors and windows, shingles, flooring blocks, packing boxes, boards, railway sleepers and in the manufacture of pulp and paper. It is suitable for boat building, tea chests, sports articles, bodies of violins, matchsticks, oars etc.
Teak (Tectona grandis)
Teak (Tectona grandis) is one of the most important timber trees of India and South-east Asia. The species is indigenous to India and the South-east Asian region. In India teak is distributed naturally in the Peninsular region below 24oN latitude. The most important teak forests are found in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala besides Uttar Pradesh (small extent), Gujarat, Orissa, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur. Outside its natural occurrence teak has been raised in different states, e.g. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Andamans, Andhra Pradesh, etc. Teak has also been introduced in different parts of the world outside its natural occurrence in South-east Asia, Pacific, East and West Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Central America regions.
Teak is a large tree which can attain a height more than 30 m. It has a simple root system. Colour of the bark varies from pale brown to grey. Leaves have some distinct features by which it can easily be identified. It bears a pair of leaves that stands at right angle to the next upper or lower pair and in each pair, two leaves are situated at a node on the opposite side. Young leaves are red in colour but become dark green at maturity. These are broad towards apex, oval in outline, widest at the centre and bear small star shaped hairs. Inflorescence large, flowers are white in colour and become inflated at maturity. Fruit is fleshy and bears 1-4 seeds which are enclosed in a stony covering.
Teak sheds leaves from November to January. The flowers appear from June to September and fruits ripen from November to January.
Teak is recognized as the best timber for the manufacture of door, window frames and shutters, wagon and carriage, furniture, cabinets, ships, agricultural implements, decorative flooring and wall panelling because of its moderate weight, appropriate strength, dimensional stability and durability, easy workability and finishing qualities and most appealing grain, texture, colour and figure.
Teak is also used in a variety of ways apart from its use as timber. Various parts of the tree, including the wood are credited with medicinal properties. Kernels yield fatty oil (about 2 per cent). Flowers are considered useful against a number of diseases such as biliousness, bronchitis and urinary discharges. Both flowers and seeds are considered diuretic. Leaves are used in indigenous medicine and their extract indicates complete inhibition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The leaves also contain yellow and red dyes, which have been recommended for dyeing of silk, wool and cotton. The leaves are occasionally used as plates for dining purposes, for making cheap umbrellas and for thatching temporary huts in some places. The bark is regarded as an astringent and considered useful in bronchitis. Various valuable compounds have been isolated and identified from the wood, bark, root and leaves of the tree. Activated charcoal can be prepared from its saw dust.
Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo)
Shisham is found in many parts of India up to 900 m in the sub-Himalayan tract and occasionally ascending to 1500 m. It is found in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. In the sub-Himalayan tract, it occurs along rivers and streams, gregariously growing on alluvial soil. It has been widely used for afforestation in most parts of the country except in the very hot, cold and wet tracts. Outside India the species is found in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also found under cultivation in tropical to sub-tropical Africa and Asia. The tree has been introduced into Java, Nigeria, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Northern Rhodesia, Palestine and South Africa with varying degree of success.
A medium sized deciduous tree, 10-30 m tall, trunk 2-4 m in girth at base. Bark is rough with shallow broad longitudinal fissures, exfoliating in irregular woody strips and scales, pale grey or light brown in colour. Leaves of the shisham are compound and each leaflet is light green and thin initially, turning slightly rough and dark green with age. Three or five leaflets form one leaf, each roughly heart-shaped with a finely drawn-out short tip. They are arranged alternately on the leaf stalk, creating a foliar cloud distinct to the shisham. It bears yellowish white flowers which are 7-9 mm long, sessile to pedicellate. Leaf fall takes place generally in November-December, and new leaves appear between January and February. Young flower buds appear along with new leaves. Leaves turn brown prior to falling. Leaflets fall separately. The flowering generally starts in March and April, young pods appear in the end of April all over the tree. The pods turn brown and ripen during November-December.
Because of its strength, elasticity, durability and colour, grain attractive surface, the shisham wood is highly valued for furniture, constructional and general utility purposes. In building it is used in joinery and as posts, rafter, scantlings and boards; for carts and coach building, as felloes, stock, spokes, poles, shafts, body bottoms and footboards. It is also used for gun carriage, boat-building and brush-backs. It is valued also for better class boxes, carved articles, musical instruments, bed legs, trays, ornaments, electric casing, shoe heels, hookah tubes, tobacco pipes, walking-sticks and similar small articles. Shisham wood finds considerable use in the manufacture of certain sports equipments, artificial limbs and jute and textile mill accessories.
Sandal (Santalum album Linn.)
Sandalwood is the fragrant heartwood of species of genus Santalum (family –Santalaceae). In India, the genus is represented by Santalum album Linn. Its wood, known commercially as “East Indian Sandalwood” and essential oil from it as “East Indian Sandalwood Oil” are among the oldest known perfumery materials.
The word sandal has been derived from Chandana (Sanskrit) and Chandan (Persian). It is called Safed Chandan in Hindi, Srigandha, Gandha in Kannada, Sandanam in Tamil, Chandanamu in Telugu. Historical review reveals that sandalwood has been referred to in Indian mythology, folklore and ancient scriptures. It is generally accepted that sandal is indigenous to peninsular India as its history of recorded occurrence dates back to at least 2500 years
In India Santalum album is found all over the country, with over 90% of the area in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu covering 8300 sq. kms. In Karnataka, it grows naturally in the southern as well as western parts over an area of 5000 sq. kms. In Tamil Nadu, it is distributed over an area of 3000 sq. kms.
Heartwood of sandal is moderately hard, heavy, and strongly scented and yellow or brown in colour. Both wood and oil are used in increase, perfumes and medicine and are of great commercial importance. Sandal wood being close grained and amenable to carving, is one of the finest woods for the purpose. It is used in making idols and inlay ivory work. Such work is done on cottage industry scale. The class of people working on sandalwood carving are known as “Gudigars” (in Karnataka).
Powder of heartwood upon steam distillation yields East Indian Sandalwood oil. Light coloured wood generally contains higher percentage of oil than dark coloured. The oil content varies from 3% – 6% Sandal Oil has earned a prominent place in agarbathi (incense stick), cosmetic, fragrance and soap industries. It also finds its use in medicine as antiseptic, antipyretic etc. Its use as a base of fragrance has far outweighed its use in medicine.
Babul (Acacia nilotica)
The genus Acacia belongs to family Mimosaceae. Acacia Willd is a very large genus containing trees, shrubs and climbers. Acacia nilotica (linn), Willd ex del is known in India as babul, kikar, babur (Hindi). It is a moderate sized tree with a spreading crown. It is indigenous to the Indian Sub-continent as also in Tropical Africa, Burma, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and in West and East Sudan. In India, natural babul forests are generally found in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajesthan, Haryana and Karnataka.
Acacia nilotica mainly occurs in plains on flat or gently undulating ground and ravines. It grows best on the alluvial soils in riverain areas subject to periodic inundations.
It flourishes even in alkaline soils. A considerable amount of moisture in the soil is essential for its success. Even the existence saline water in the sub-soil is not injurious.
This species occurs in tropical and sub-tropical regions of India. In its natural range the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from 400C to 47.50C. The average annual rainfall in its normal habitat varies from 200 to 1270 mm. The tree normally tolerates temperature range varying from 40C to 470C. For good development the optimum lower limit of rainfall is about 600 mm.
The species is drought resistant. Tree species growing in the forest usually live under fluctuating water regime i.e., abundant water supply to extreme drought. The extent of growth loss due to water stress has not been estimated.
A nilotica is an evergreen, usually moderate sized (height varying form 2.5 m to 25 m) tree. In favourable localities, it attains a height of 15-25 metre and girth of 2.4-3.0 metres. In unfavourable localities, it is a stunted, shruby or a straggling tree. It is almost evergreen tree with a short, thick and cylindrical trunk. The tree has a very clear bole upto a height of 5-6.5 metres. In difficult sites, it seldom grows more than 10 metres. The clean bole in such cases is not more than 3-4 metres.
Almost every part of the babul tree is utilized for some purpose. The sap wood of babul is sharply demarcated from the heart wood and is white, whitish, turning pale yellow on exposure. The heart wood is pinkish brown and turns reddish brown on ageing. The wood is strong and durable. It is used for various constructional purposes.
Khair (Acacia catechu)
Acacia catechu is a deciduous tree with a light feathery crown and dark brown, glabrous, slender, thorny, shining branchlets, usually crooked. Bark dark brown or dark grey, brown or red inside, nearly 12-15 mm in thickness, rough, exfoliating in long narrow rectangular flakes which often remain hanging. Blaze very hard, colour brown and then deep pink.
Branchlets armed with pseudo-stipular spines in pairs below the petioles. Pod 10-15 cm by 2- 3 cm, thin, straight, flat, glabrous dark-brown and shining when mature. Seeds 3-8, about 5 mm in diameter.
Acacia catechu is widely distributed throughout the greater part of India except the most humid, cold and the driest regions. It is common in the sub-Himalayan tract and outer Himalayas ascending from 900 to 1,200 m from Jammu to Assam.
In the natural habitat of khair, the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from 40oC to 50oC and the absolute minimum from 2.5oC to 7.5oC. The mean daily maximum temperature in May which is generally the hottest month in the hot weather varies from 37.5oC to 43.5oC. The mean daily minimum temperature in January which is the coldest month of the year varies from 1.0oC to 2.1oC.
A small or medium sized deciduous tree 12-15 m in height. More commonly found as a small tree 60-90 cm in girth and a bole of 2 to 3 metres. When growing in more favourable localities, it has a moderately straight and cylindrical stem up to 240 cm in girth and 30 m in height.
On account of its hardness and value of wood, khair is an ideal species for the conversion of miscellaneous forests, containing inferior species and is being used to a considerable extent for afforestation in Uttar Pradesh. It plays an important part in the afforestation schemes of ravine lands of the drier parts of U.P. Experiments carried out to investigate the possibility of afforesting usar land with well defined kankar pan in U.P. indicate that the species is moderately suitable in mild usar, if planting is done in deep pits filled with better soil.
Though Khair is chiefly used as a source of katha and kutch, it is also a useful timber. It is much prized for posts in house construction and also for making rice pestles, oil and sugar- cane crushers, ploughs, tent-pegs, sword handles and keels and knees of boats. There is, however, a local superstition against it in parts of Uttar Pradesh on account of which it is not used in house construction.
Khair is a valuable economic structural timber, the heartwood being naturally durable. This species has been classified as “Super Group” timber suitable for large spans more than 12 m and is placed as the first choice of selection for permanent structures (I.S.I., 1962). It is eminently suitable for tools and tool handles, particularly for mallets and plane bodies. It is excellent for making spokes and hubs of wheels.
Safed Siris (Albizia procera)
Albizia procera occurs in tropical semi-evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forests, dry tropical forests and northern sub-tropical broad-leaved forests. In the areas of its natural distribution the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from about 360 to 460, the absolute minimum from -1 0C to 18 0C and the normal annual rainfall from about 1,000 to 5,000 mm. Its common name is White Siris and trade name Safed Siris.
The tree belongs to family the Leguminosae, sub family Mimosoideae.
A large deciduous tree with a tall, erect or more often somewhat curved stem with pale yellowish or greenish white bark and light crown. In some localities it may reach 36 m in height and 2-3 m in girth with a clear bole of 12 m, but is usually 18 to 24 m in height. In the drier regions, such as Madhya Pradesh, the Satpura, Gujarat and parts of Tamil Nadu, the trees are commonly found up to a girth of 1.2 to 1.5 m. The bark is about 1.2 cm thick, peeling off in thin flakes often with horizontal lines. Leaves are bipinnate with rachis 25 – 26 cm long with a large oblong gland near the base. Flowers are greenish yellow in peduncled heads arranged in large lax terminal panicles.
Being a fast growing species and having an immense potential for introduction in different types of soils and climatic conditions, it is planted in various states by the Forest Departments
and also by farmers under Agro-forestry programmes. This is an important fast growing species in Assam and other eastern states, particularly Tripura. It is also planted in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Albizia procera has been used in experimental planting in saline and alkaline areas with considerable success. Being a legume, it fixes nitrogen through symbiotic bacteria present in root nodules and thus enhances and soil fertility.
It is a valuable timber and is used in general construction (house posts, beams, scantlings, planks, boards), carriage and carts, motor-lorry and bus bodies, agricultural implements, tool handles, packing cases and crates, etc. It is a high grade furniture timber, though not so decorative. It is used for a variety of other purposes such as well construction, canoes and dug-outs, oars, cane-crushers, oil presses and rice pounders. It is largely used in Assam and Tripura. Due to the more broadly interlocked nature of the grain, it is more suitable for use in large sections where a bolder effect is desired, such as in large-sized panels, table-tops, etc. The wood is resistant to termites.
Ardu (Ailanthus excelsa)
Ailanthus excelsa Roxb. is a lofty deciduous tree, though it is widely distributed in the country, it grows In the semi-arid and semi moist regions. In its natural habitat the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from 450C to 47.50C and the absolute minimum from 00 to 12.50C. The mean maximum temperature in the month of May is generally the highest. The temperature varies from 300 to 42.50C. The mean daily minimum temperature in January, the coldest month of the year varies from 40 to 210C.
It is indigenous in Central India in the northern part of the Peninsula. It is commonly found in south of the Ganges, in West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. It also occurs in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. It is scarce in the Deccan and Karnataka and absent further in the south. It is generally absent in heavy rainfall areas of the west coast.
It can attain a height of 18 to 25 m and girth of 2.5 m and has a cylindrical bole. It is fast growing species with a small whitish trunk. Branches are thick and spreading with a massive spreading crown. The bark is greenish or grey and smooth in young trees while in old trees, the bark is rough having large conspicuous leaf scars. It has large branches starting right from trunk and perpendicular to the trunk which tend to curve upwards.
The leaves are shed during the cold season and the new leaves appear in March-April, 3-9 dm long, pinnate; leaflets 8-14 pairs, 10-15 cm long alternate or subopposite, coarsely and irregularly serrate, oblique at base; petioles 5-8 cm long.
It is a suitable species for introduction as a plantation tree in social forestry, agroforestry, avenue plantation, industrial plantation and wasteland afforestation. It is grown on hills and in taungya system. It can grow on variety of soils but avoids wet and waterlogged areas.
Wood is straight grained, fairly even and very coarse textured. It is soft but fairly strong and holds nails well. Annual growth rings are indistinct. It is very easy to saw and work both by hand and machines. The timber is very light and perishable and the air dry weight is 27 lbs/cubic ft.
The leaves are rated as highly palatable and protein rich nutritious fodder for sheep and goats and are said to augment milk production. The tree is therefore largely planted on farm lands. An average tree yields about 5 to 7 quintals of green leaves twice a year.
It is resistant to drought and soil conditions. It grows well on slopes. The species has been extensively used for soil conservation purposes. Even in arid regions of Rajasthan it has been planted as an avenue tree along the road side.
Acacia tortilis, is native of Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Somalia, part of Kenya, Tanzania, Arabia and Southern Israel. It is usually a medium size tree of 4 to 12 m height, sometimes a shrub or bush 1.5-18 m high, occasionally of 21 m. Bark on trunk usually rough and fissured, grey to black brown. Crown usually flat and spreading (parasol type) but sometimes (especially in sub sp. raddiana) rounded. Young branchlets densely to sparsely pubescent or glabrous to subglabrous.
tortilis is cultivated in India (sub sp. raddiana) and Pakistan. In India, plantations of Acacia tortilis occur in the districts of Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Sri-Ganganagar, Jodhpur, Pali, Seekar, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, etc. in western Rajasthan. It is also being planted in arid zones of Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is prominent on sand dunes of arid regions where it has good growth. In western Rajasthan, roadside plantations are predominantly of Acacia tortilis
Acacia tortilis is the most important species for sand dune stabilization. It plays a paramount role in Indian desert for wind erosion control. Shelter belts of Acacia tortilis are raised along roads, railway tracks and farms. It yields good fuel wood, leaves are lopped for fodder and fruits also form good fodder for the livestock. Twigs, branches and thorns are used as fencing materials. Bigger branches are used as poles for erecting fence around farms and plantations
Acacia tortilis is a very good source of fuelwood, because of its fast growing habit and excellent coppicing behaviour. In Indian arid regions, it is the most important species planted on panchayat lands under „village fuel wood plantation‟ scheme.
Acacia tortilis is one of the important sources of fodder for cattle in western India. West Africa, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan etc. Foliage and fruits of Acacia tortilis are important browse. A ten year old tree yields about 4 to 6 kg dry leaf and 10 to 12 kg pods per year.
Acacia tortilis has been found to be the most suitable and excellent species for planting on unstabilized sand dunes. Along roads and railways tracks and agricultural farms, it forms very effective shelterbelts. When raised with Albizia lebbeck as central row, Acacia tortilis reduced the wind velocity by 50 per cent upto the distance of twice the height of reduced the wind velocity by 50 per cent upto the distance of twice the height of shelterbelt, influencing the soil erosion and nutrient loss which were reduced to half.
Jatropha curcas belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae and is thus closely related to some other important cultivated plants like rubber tree and castor etc.
It is believed to be a native of South America and Africa spread to other continents of the world by the Portuguese settlers. The Arabs have been using this plant for medicinal purposes. Today it is found in almost all the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and known by nearly 200 different names, which indicates its significance and various possibilities of its uses.
In India Jatropha curcas is found in almost all the states and is generally grown as a live fence for protection of agricultural fields against damage by livestock as unpalatable to cattle and goats.
Jatropha curcas in India grows in semi-wild condition in the vicinity of villages. It is easily propagated by seeds or cuttings, grows rapidly, is drought hardy and not browsed by animals. It may be cut or lopped at any desired height and is suited as a hedge plant.
atropha curcas is adapted to a wide range of climates and soils. It can grow almost on any type of soil whether gravelly, sandy or saline and thrives even on the poorest stony soils and rock crevices.
Jatropha curcas is a wild growing hardy plant well adapted to harsh conditions of soil and climate. Moreover it can be conveniently propagated from seeds as well as branch cuttings which make the species most suitable for afforestation of stress sites on an economical budget. Jatropha curcas however can also be profitably grown as a perennial non-edible oil crop on irrigated and partially irrigated lands.
Jatropha curcas can be maintained as a hedge and is commonly grown as a live fenced around agricultural fields.
Jatropha oil has a very high saponification value and is extensively used in India and other countries for making soap. At present Jatropha curcas oil is imported to meet the demand of cosmetic industry.
Jatropha oil is an alternative source of energy with a promise as it can be produced on a massive scale within the country. Moreover, cultivation of Jatropha, as an agroforestry venture can generate millions of jobs in rural India particularly in regions practicing dry land farming or subsistence agriculture.
All barren and denuded areas can be expeditiously and successfully revegetating with Jatropha curcas. Animals do not eat or damage Jatropha plants. In many regions of the
country Jatropha is therefore being extensively used as a live fence along the periphery of agricultural fields.
Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Neem or Margosa is a botanical cousin of mahogany. It belongs to the family Meliaceae. The latinized name of Neem – Azadirachta indica – is derived from the Persian:
Neem is an attractive broad-leaved, evergreen tree which can grow up to 30m tall and 2.5m in girth. Its trunk usually straight is 30-80 cm in diameter. Its spreading branches form a rounded crown of deep-green leaves and honey-scented flowers as much as 20m across.
Neem – the legendary medicinal tree of India, has grown with the human settlement all over the country and has been an integral part of the Indian way of life for centuries. The history of the Neem tree is inextricably linked to the history of the Indian civilization.
The Neem tree has for a very long time been a friend and protector of the Indian villager. For ages Indians have trusted this tree to fortify their health and remedy scores of diseases. In addition, it has been used for protecting food and stored grains and as a fertilizer and natural pesticide for the fields. It has been used for a far wider array of uses than any other tree !
Environmentally, Neem has a reputation as a natural air purifier, exhaling out oxygen and keeping the oxygen level in the atmosphere balanced. Neem’s ability to withstand extreme heat and water pollution is well known. It also helps to improve fertility of the soil and to rehabilitate degraded wastelands.
The Neem tree can also play a vital role in controlling soil erosion, salination and preventing floods. But Neem is far more than a tough tree that grows vigorously in difficult sites. Among its many benefits, the one that is most unusual and immediately practical is the control of farm and household pests. Some entomologists now believe that Neem has such remarkable powers for controlling insects that it will usher in a new era in safe, natural pesticides.
The Neem tree exemplifies Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of economy of permanence and has much to offer in solving global, agricultural, environmental and public health problems. No other tree can match Neem’s usefulness. Neem rightfully belongs to the millions of ordinary Indians who learnt to put it to use, as it is this knowledge, passed down through generations, that has helped scientists discover Neem’s amazing potential. The commercial and industrial prospects of neem are unlimited and exciting. There is no other tree that touches the life and living of such a majority of the country’s population.
Banyan trees are one of the largest trees in the world and grow up to 20-25 m with branches spreading up to 100 m. it has a massive trunk that has smooth greyish brown bark and is fluted. They have very powerful roots that can penetrate very hard surfaces like concrete and even stones sometimes. Older banyan trees are characterized by emergence of aerial prop roots that are thin and fibrous when new, but develop into thick branchlike appearance once they are old and firmly rooted onto the soil. These aerial prop roots offer support to the huge canopy of the tree.
Banyan tree is respected and is considered as sacred by the people in India. In the sacred Hindu Book ‘Bhagwad Gita’ Lord Krishna has sung praises on the Banyan tree. People in India grow Banyan tree closer to the Peepal tree. As Banyan tree is considered as the male plant closely related to the Peepal tree. It symbolize Trimurti with Vishnu as the barl, Shiva as the branches and Brahma as the roots. Indians considered Banyan tree as ‘Kalpa Vriksha’ the tree that fulfill all your wishes.
Banyan trees are found all over tropical and sub-tropical parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They represent the largest trees in the world by canopy coverage. They occur in forest, rural as well as urban areas of the country. They often use the branches of big trees or fissures within rocks as support, ultimately taking over by destroying the supporting host. In urban areas they grow on the sides of buildings with the roots penetrating the walls and are called stranglers.
The fruits are edible and nutritious. They are also used to soothe skin irritations and alleviate swelling. The bark and leaf extracts are used to arrest bleeding. Infusion of the leaf buds are used to treat chronic diarrhea/dysentery. Few drops of the latex help relieve bleeding piles. Young banyan tree roots are used to treat female sterility. Use of the aerial roots to clean teeth helps prevent gum and teeth problems. Application of the latex is beneficial for curing rheumatism, joint pain and lumbago, as well as to heal sores and ulcers. Infusion of barks is used to relieve nausea. The banyan tree is known to produce shellac which is used as a surface polisher and adhesive. It is produced primarily by lac producing insects that reside in the banyan tree. The milk sap is used to polish metals such as brass or copper. The wood is often used as firewood.
Cassia fistula, commonly known as golden shower,i s a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. The species is native to the Indian subcontinent and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia, from southern Pakistan through India and Sri Lanka to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. It is a popular ornamental plant and is also used in herbal medicine.
The golden shower tree is a medium-sized tree, growing to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) tall with fast growth. The leaves are deciduous, 15–60 cm (6–24 in) long, and pinnate with three to eight pairs of leaflets,
The tree has strong and very durable wood, and has been used to construct “Ehela Kanuwa”, a site at Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka, which is made of C. fistula (ahala, ehela, or aehaela, ඇහැල in Sinhala ) heartwood. The golden shower tree is not a nitrogen fixer.
Cassia fistula is widely grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas. It blooms in late spring/earlysummer in hot, dry weather. Flowering is profuse, with trees being covered with yellow flowers, many times with almost no leaf being seen. It grows well in dry climates. Growth for this tree is best in full sun on well-drained soil; it is relatively drought-tolerant and slightly salt-tolerant. It will tolerate light brief frost, but can get damaged if the cold persists. It can be subject to mildew or leaf spot, especially during the second half of the growing season.
In India, flowers of the golden shower tree are sometimes eaten by people. The leaves have also been used to supplement the diets of cattle, sheep, and goats fed with low-quality forages.
Amaltas may be a remedy for constipation. The emulsion obtained from Amaltas may be effective in the 3-week treatment of functional constipation in children
Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
The Amla plant is a very well known plant across. Planting it in the garden will help get fruits and has religious value as well. These plants are small in size and look like shrubs. They are very low care plants and once established, they will keep on growing. The fruit happens after 4 – 5 years and it keeps on giving fruits year after year. The fruit is round, green in color and sour to taste. Amla is used in dishes, pickles and has many medicinal properties in it. This is a plant of choice for a lot of people. It can survive in wram, hot conditions. The farmers who shall be cultivating it will be able to get double benefit. They can eat the nutritious fruit and also sell the same to the market. The same can also be used for making pickles and dried amla and selling them in the market. All the ways, the tree is very beneficial for all. Even when planted in open spaces in community areas, they provide a good source of fruits to the people.
The tree is small to medium in size, reaching 1–8 m (3 ft 3 in – 26 ft 3 in) in height. The branchlets are not glabrous or finely pubescent, 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long, usually deciduous; the leaves are simple, subsessile and closely set along branchlets, light green, resembling pinnate leaves. The flowers are greenish-yellow. The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish-yellow, quite smooth and hard on appearance, with six vertical stripes or furrows. The fruit is up to 26 mm (1.0 in) in diameter, and, while the fruit of wild plants weigh approximately 5.5 g.
Ripening in autumn, the berries are harvested by hand after climbing to upper branches bearing the fruits. The taste of Indian emblic is sour, bitter and astringent, and it is quite fibrous.
Arjun (Terminalia arjuna)
Terminalia arjuna or Arjun tree is a large sized deciduous tree. It is also called with many names like Koha, Kahu, White Marudah, Sadada, Sadaru and many more. Being amongst one of the sacred trees in India, it has acquired vast social and religious sanctity. The leaves and flowers of this tree are offered with devotion to Lord Vishnu and Lord Ganesha on various occasions.
The tree reaches a height of 60-85 feet. It is an evergreen tree cladded with yellow flowers and conical leaves. It is shrouded by a smooth grey bark. The leaves appear dull green above and pale brown beneath and possess a buttressed trunk. The fruit is 2.5 to 3.5 cm long and has 5 hard wings. It is abundantly witnessed across the sub Himalayan tracts and Eastern India. The Arjuna tree turns into a casting bloom from March to June and starts bearing fruits between September to June.
The bark of the Arjuna tree comprises calcium salts, magnesium salts, and glucosides that has been used in a traditional Ayurvedic herbal juice to provide relief from dysentery and earache. It helps in maintaining the cholesterol level as well and is well enriched with antioxidant properties much similar to Vitamin E. Strengthening the cardiac muscles to act efficiently, Arjun is even used for treatment of coronary artery disease, heart failure, edema, angina and hypercholesterolemia. It has even been proven beneficial for the treatment of Asthma. The leaves of arjuna tree are fed by Antheraea paphia moth yielding the tassar silk that holds great economic value. No doubt, planting this tree in abundance will fetch the farmers a great deal of money.