The Indian Semal, also known as the Red Cotton Tree, is a large deciduous tree that is native to the Indian subcontinent. This tree is highly valued for its beauty and importance in traditional medicine. It is also an important tree for the ecological balance of the region.

Tree CharacteristicsDescription
Common NameSemal / Red Cotton tree
Scientific NameBombax ceiba
Maximum Height20-25 meters
Diameter of Crown when mature10-12 meters
Diameter of Tree Trunk when mature3-4 meters
Years it takes to grow10-15 years
Economic Benefit to the FarmersTimber, gum, medicine, food, and fiber

Physical characteristics

The Indian Semal can reach a height of up to 60 meters and has a wide spreading crown that can be up to 20 meters in diameter. The trunk of the tree is stout and can be up to 3 meters in diameter. The leaves are large and deciduous, and the flowers are bright red, appearing in large clusters during the summer months.

Ecological role

The Indian Semal plays a crucial role in the ecology of the region. It provides shade and shelter to a wide range of animals, including birds, squirrels, and monkeys. The tree is also a source of food for many animals, as its fruit is rich in nutrients. The large flowers of the Semal attract a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies, which help in pollination.

Importance to Birds, animals and insects

The Indian Semal provides food and shelter for a variety of animals, including birds, insects, and mammals. The tree is a source of food for many animals, including squirrels, monkeys, and birds. The large flowers of the Semal attract a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies, which help in pollination.

Type of soil needed for growing

The Indian Semal can grow in a wide range of soils, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. However, it grows best in well-drained soils that are rich in nutrients.

Temperature range

The Indian Semal can grow in a wide range of temperatures, from 10°C to 40°C. However, it prefers temperatures between 25°C to 35°C.

Climatic conditions

The Indian Semal can grow in a wide range of climatic conditions, including tropical and subtropical regions. It prefers regions with high rainfall and humidity, and can grow well in areas with an annual rainfall of 1000-2500 mm.

States in India where the tree is found naturally

The Indian Semal is found naturally in many states in India, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra.

Different stages of tree growth in details

The Indian Semal grows in a number of different stages. The tree starts as a seed, which germinates and develops into a small sapling. As the sapling grows, it develops a strong trunk and branches, and its crown becomes wider. Once the tree reaches maturity, it produces large flowers and fruit, which provide food for animals.

How farmers are benefited by growing it under agroforestry

The Indian Semal is an important tree for farmers, as it provides a number of benefits when grown under agroforestry. The tree is a source of timber, which can be used for construction and furniture. The large flowers of the Semal can be used in traditional medicine, and the fruit of the tree is used as a food source for animals. The Semal also helps to prevent soil erosion and can improve soil quality by adding organic matter to the soil.


In conclusion, the Semal tree or Red Cotton tree is an important species that plays a significant role in the ecology of India. Its towering height, vibrant flowers, and numerous uses make it a valuable resource for humans and animals alike. The tree is deeply embedded in the cultural and religious practices of India, and has been used for centuries for medicinal and industrial purposes.

The Semal tree also has immense ecological value as it provides food, shelter, and breeding grounds for a diverse range of flora and fauna. It helps in maintaining the ecological balance and is an integral part of the forest ecosystem. The tree’s importance is recognized by the government of India and various conservation efforts are being undertaken to protect and promote its growth.

Through agroforestry, farmers can benefit from growing Semal trees on their land, as it can provide them with additional income and improve the quality of their soil. The tree’s ability to adapt to various climatic conditions and grow in a range of soil types makes it an ideal choice for agroforestry.

It is important to continue to protect and promote the growth of the Semal tree and other native species in India, not just for their economic and ecological value, but also for their cultural and religious significance. Through conservation efforts and sustainable practices, we can ensure that these valuable resources are preserved for future generations.

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