Derris indica Bennet.

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Derris indica Bennet. Family

Leguminosae

Derris indica Bennet. English Name

Ponga Oil Tree

Derris indica Bennet. Local Name

Pongam

Derris indica Bennet.

Derris indica Bennet. Description

A medium size, deciduous tree, 20 to 25 m in height. The branches are spreading and drooping. The leaves are compound with leaflets in groups of 5 to 9. The leaflets are lime green turning dark green with age. The bark is soft, greyish brown. The flowers occur in hanging bunches and are 1.3 cm long. The flowers are white tinged with violet, appearing between April and May. The pods are small, 3 to 5 cm long and woody. The pods ripen from March to May of the following year. There is usually one seed per pod. It can be reproduced both from seed and by vegetative means. The seed would remain viable for one year if its carefully stored. This is a fast-growing tree that attains its mature height in 4 to 5 years. Wood is heavy, hard and strong, yellowish white colored, with a specific gravity of 0.75 and a calorific value of 4600 kcal/kg. Grain is Coarse textured, beautiful.

Derris indica Bennet.

Derris indica Bennet. Distribution

The tree is native to the subcontinent along tidal rivers banks and tidal forests. It is successfully planted in arid regions of Pakistan and India. This tolerant tree grows on a variety of sites including saline, sodic and waterlogged soils. It can tolerate salt conditions (pH 9.8) and can grow with its roots in salt water. It is adapted to a sub-humid tropical climate at elevations up to 1200 m in areas that receive between 500 and 2500 mm of precipitation. It is considered drought hardy and has a temperature range of 0 to 50°C. It can stand light frost.

Derris indica Bennet.

Derris indica Bennet. Uses

Because of its fast growth and ability to grow on saline, and droughty site this tree is valuable for both reclaiming saline problem areas and in controlling erosion. It has been successfully used in dune stabilization. It is an excellent farm forestry tree especially in the Sindh. Also used in fodder, wheels and axles, oil (from seeds), furniture, fuel, medicinal (oil used for skin diseases), insect repellant (dried leaves in grain storage sheds) and ornamental.

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