Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Pongam Tree -Indian beech

21st Feb 2011.

The Indian beech tree:

Pongam Tree -Indian beech, of one species is seen in abundance in Chennai and has a rich, greenish lime coloured hue. It is a  hardy, shade giving  tree, with  medicinal values that deserves more attention. I have  in fact three trees it in my location; Two full grown and one medium height.What struck me the most, is that it has a sort of Trifoliate leaf -3 leaves on a stem.--See 3rd photo as it some what looks like a Bilwa-except that  the leaves have a colour of a lighter greenish/lime mix, and leaves are much thinner.  
They all give shade and look nice with fresh green leaves in February. 
See 4 photos taken of tree and  leaves on 21st Feb and of Tree in Greenways Lane near my residence

 PHOTOS: Taken on 21st Feb 2011.
Pongamia pinnata is a hardy tropical tree, resistant against heat and sunlight.  
Thanks to the large  root system, it is also tolerant against drought.  
Thus  it grows on sandy or rocky soils, including limestone, but in cultivation, it can be successfully grown in nearly all kinds of soil as well as salty soils.
In Tamil is known by several names inc: Pongam, Pongamia; also for Puna oil.
In the North in most states it is known best as `Karanj` (or `Papar` or `Kanji`).
 `Unne` in Malayalam and `Pungu` in Telugu.
It is also said to be called  `Karum Tree` or `Poonga Oil Tree` in English
Scientific name: Pongamia pinnata, P. glabra.
Family: Leguminiceae.
NOTE:  This name `Pongamia` is said to have been derived from the Tamil name,
`Pinnata` that refers to the pinnate leaves.
Other names in Tamil heard include `Ponga`, `Dalkaramcha`, `Pongam` and `Punku`.

Pongamia glabragenus Pongamia, Pongamia 

Plant parts used--Roots, leaf, flower, seeds, fruit

USAGE: Oil used for Rheumatism; also as a Insecticidal, antifeedant, repellent


Botanical source : Indian beech, evergreen Asiatic tree having glossy pinnate leaves and racemose creamy-white scented flowers; used as a shade tree. Is a tall perennial woody plant having a main trunk and branches forming a distinct elevated crown; includes both gymnosperms and angiosperms.

Indian Beech Tree Pongamia pinnata (other vernacular names: Honge Tree, Pongam Tree, Panigrahi) is a deciduous tree, about 15–25 meters tall, belonging to the family Fabaceae. It has a big top with many small flowers in white, pink or violet. Its origin is India, but is widely grown in South-East Asia. It is often grown in dry areas and is often used for landscaping purposes as windbreaker or for shade. The bark is used to make twines or ropes, and the black gum has been used in the past to treat wounds caused by poisonous fish.Its root nodules promote nitrogen fixation, a symbiotic process by which gaseous nitrogen (N2) from the air is converted into NH4+ (a form of nitrogen available to the plant). Thus, it can be used for fertilization of soil that is poor in nutrients. Although the whole plant is toxic, the juice from the plant, as well as the oil, is antiseptic. The seed oil is used as lamp oil, in soap making, as a lubricant, and the producing of bio-disease.

Sadly enough the Pongam Trees were planted on our road by us years ago with EXXNORA help- remain unnoticed. We need to respect this Tree better. 
Have started to do this.





1 comment:

  1. Uses of tree -products.
    A red oil obtained from the seeds of the `Pongam Tree` can be used in embrocating the skin diseases. People apply the juice of the roots to sores and also use to clean the teeth. The reason behind this is that, the juice contains some antiseptic qualities. The timber of this tree is yellowish white in colour and quite hard and rude. Though it is not that easy to work upon, but still people use this to make cartwheels and posts. It is used for fuel as well.