Wood Apple 

Plant Bael Trees

The Wood Apple tree, also known as Limonia acidissima, is a medium-sized deciduous tree that is native to India. It is a popular tree for agroforestry due to its ecological and economic benefits. In this article, we will discuss the physical characteristics of the tree, its ecological role, the importance of the tree to birds, animals, and insects, where it is found naturally in India, where it is commercially grown, the different stages of tree growth, and how farmers benefit from growing it under agroforestry.

Tree CharacteristicsDescription
Common NameWood Apple
Scientific NameLimonia acidissima
Maximum Height20-30 meters
Diameter when Mature50-80 centimeters
Years to Grow7-10 years
Economic BenefitWood apple fruits have high medicinal and nutritional value, and the wood is used in furniture and construction. The tree is also useful in erosion control and as a shade tree in agroforestry systems.

Physical Characteristics 

The Wood Apple tree can grow up to a height of 15-20 meters and has a spreading crown. The tree has a straight trunk with a diameter of 50-60 cm, and the branches are covered with sharp spines. The leaves of the tree are pinnate, and the flowers are greenish-yellow in color. The fruit of the Wood Apple tree is round, with a hard, woody shell that is covered in a rough, warty skin. The pulp of the fruit is brown and has a sweet and sour taste.

Ecological Role 

The Wood Apple tree plays an important ecological role as it is a source of food and habitat for many birds, animals, and insects. The tree provides shelter and nesting sites for birds, and the fruit is a food source for animals such as monkeys, deer, and elephants. The leaves of the tree are also used as a fodder for livestock.

Importance to Birds, Animals, and Insects 

The Wood Apple tree is an important source of food for many birds, such as parrots and mynas, who feed on the fruit and use the tree as a nesting site. The fruit is also a food source for animals such as monkeys, deer, and elephants. Insects such as bees are attracted to the flowers of the tree and help in pollination.

States in India where the tree is found naturally 

The Wood Apple tree is found naturally in many states in India, including Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and West Bengal.

States where it is commercially grown 

The Wood Apple tree is commercially grown in many states in India, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.

Commercial Growing of Tree 

The Wood Apple tree is grown commercially for its fruit, which is used in the food industry to make juice, jam, and chutney. The tree is also grown for its medicinal properties, as the fruit is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Stages of Growth

The wood apple tree grows slowly, but it is a long-lived species that can survive for more than 100 years. The tree is propagated through seeds, which take about two months to germinate. After germination, the seedlings are transplanted to the field or nursery bed. At this stage, the seedlings require regular watering and weeding. After about a year, the seedlings are transplanted to their final position in the field.

The tree requires full sunlight and can tolerate a wide range of soils, from sandy to clayey. However, the tree thrives in well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.5 to 8.0. The tree does not require much maintenance once it is established, but occasional pruning can help shape the tree and improve fruit yield.

The Wood apple tree begins bearing fruits after 5 to 7 years of planting. The fruits ripen during the summer season, and it takes about 6-7 months from flowering to ripening. The fruits are ready for harvest when they turn yellow-green, and the skin becomes hard and woody. The fruit is harvested by cutting it from the stem with a knife or scissors.

How Farmers are Benefited

The Wood apple tree is an excellent agroforestry species, and farmers can benefit from growing it in their fields. The tree provides shade and improves soil fertility by fixing nitrogen in the soil. The tree’s leaves and fruit pulp can be used as fodder for livestock, and the fruit is a source of income for farmers.

The tree is an excellent source of income for small and marginal farmers, and it requires minimal inputs. The fruit has a high demand in the market, and farmers can sell it fresh or processed. The fruit can be used to make juice, jam, and jelly, which have a high demand in the urban market.


The Wood apple tree’s fruits are harvested by cutting them from the stem with a knife or scissors. The fruits should be harvested when they turn yellow-green, and the skin becomes hard and woody. The fruits should be handled carefully during harvesting, as the skin can easily crack, leading to spoilage.


The Wood apple tree is an important agroforestry species in India that provides several benefits to farmers and the environment. The tree is native to India and is found in several states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. The tree is easy to grow, requires minimal inputs, and provides shade, soil fertility, and income to farmers. The tree’s fruit is highly nutritious and has several health benefits, making it a popular ingredient in traditional medicine. The Wood apple tree is a valuable asset for farmers, and its cultivation should be promoted to support sustainable agriculture in India.

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