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(English) : copper-pod, golden flame, rain tree, rusty shield bearer, sagabark peltophorum, yellow flamboyant, yellow flame, yellow gold mohur, yellow poinciana
(Filipino) : jamerelang laut, siar
(Indonesian) : soga, soga jambal
(Malay) : batai, batai laut, jemerelang laut, jemerelang soga
(Sinhala) : iya vakai
(Spanish) : FlamboyŠn amarillo
(Tamil) : iya vakai, iyalvagi
(Thai) : krathin paa, no see, nonsi, saan ngoen
(Trade name) : braziletto wood
(Vietnamese) : lim set, trac vang
Peltophorum pterocarpum is a deciduous tree usually reaching a height of 15 (-24) m, although it may attain 50 m and a diameter of 50 (-100) cm. Bark smooth, grey; crown dense, spreading. Leaves large, 30-60 cm long, with 8-10 pairs of pinnae each bearing 10-20 pairs of oblong leaflets 0.8-2.5 cm long with oblique bases. Flowers orange-yellow, each about 2.5 cm in diameter, fragrant, particularly at night; inflorescence brown-tomentose, panicles terminal with rust-coloured buds. Fruits 1-4 seeded pods, flat, thin, winged, 5-10 cm long, dark red when ripe, then turning black. P. pterocarpum has a deep root system. The specific epithet 'pterocarpum' alludes to its winged seed.
Ecology and distributionHistory of cultivation
P. pterocarpum is native to the Indo-Malayan region, and is found from the Andaman Islands and Sri Lanka westwards through Malesia to Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. It is widely cultivated throughout its natural range, and also in the Bismarck Archipelago, India, tropical Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, Florida and Hawaii in the USA. It is considered to be an exotic species in the Philippines.
Under natural conditions, P. pterocarpum is a lowland species, rarely occurring above an altitude of 100 m. It frequently grows along beaches and in mangrove forests, especially the inner margins of mangroves. In Java it is also found growing wild in Imperata grassland fields and teak forests. The species prefers open or disturbed forest conditions. P. pterocarpum will grow in tropical climates with a dry season of 1-3 months. It thrives best under more or less seasonal conditions in coastal vegetation, rain forests and savanna woodlands.
Native : Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
Exotic : Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, United States of America
Biophysical limitsAltitude: 0-1600 m Mean annual temperature: 22-32 deg C Mean annual rainfall: 1 500-4 500 mm Soil type: The tree prefers light to medium free draining alkaline soils although it also tolerates clay soils.
Flowering occurs from March-May, although sporadic flowering may occur throughout the year (particularly in young trees), and a second flush of flowers may occur in September-November.
Propagation and managementPropagation methodsP. pterocarpum can be propagated by seeds, grafting or branch cuttings. Seedlings are best raised in the nursery for one year before transplanting to the field. Grafts or cuttings may be used to obtain better uniformity for roadside trees. Wildings have also been successfully used for planting.
P. pterocarpum is fast-growing, attaining a height of 9 m in 3 years and flowering when around 4 years. Agroforestry trials in south Sumatra with hedgerows spaced at 4 m intervals and cut 2-4 times a year indicated that, over a 3-year period, an average pruning yield of 8 tons/ha was possible; the umbrella-shaped crowns which developed following cutting allowed little light to reach the ground. After the first year of establishment, little effort is needed to maintain plantations. Stands will usually survive, even with thick ground cover, such as Imperata or other tall grasses.
Seed storage behaviour is orthodox. Germination is hastened by scarifying one end of the hard seed coat, softening the seed coat in dilute acid, or immersing the seed in boiling water for 2 minutes followed by soaking it in cold water for one night. Germination has been recorded at 78%.
Functional usesProductsFodder: It is suitable for use as a fodder. Apiculture: In India, it is a source of pollen for the dammer bee (Trigona iridipennis). Fuel: The tree is used as fuelwood. Timber: The sapwood is greyish-white, turning grey-brown on aging. The heartwood is light reddish-brown or black, moderately hard, moderately heavy, and somewhat lustrous, with a straight to interlocking grain. The wood is used locally for light construction purposes, cabinet making, sawn or hewn building timbers, woodware, woodcarving and marquetry. Tannin or dyestuff: The bark of P. pterocarpum has been an important component of the dark or black 'soga' dye in Java, used for batik work. It is also used for tanning leather, and preserving and dyeing fishing nets. In Indonesia, the bark is used for fermenting palm wine. Medicine: In traditional medicine it is used as an astringent to cure or relieve intestinal disorders after pain at childbirth, sprains, bruises and swelling or as a lotion for eye troubles, muscular pains and sores. It is also used for gargles and tooth powders.
Shade or shelter: P. pterocarpum is a widely-appreciated shade tree, due to its dense spreading crown. It is used in shelterbelts because it is wind firm. Reclamation: P. pterocarpum is a fast-growing tree with potential use for reforestation Nitrogen fixing: It has the ability to fix nitrogen. Soil improver: Copper-pod is a source of green manure. Ornamental: Yellow flame is a very beautiful and elegant ornamental tree. The beautiful golden-yellow flowers may be used as cut flowers. Boundary or barrier or support: The tree can be used as a hedge. Intercropping: It has been tested in rotational alley-cropping/fallow systems in Sumatra, where it shows promise (Van Noordwijk et al., 1992). It has a deep root system. Young trees are often planted in an intercropping system with mahogany or Tectona grandis.
Pests and diseasesP. pterocarpum does not suffer much from pests or diseases. In Singapore, foliage can be severely damaged by the night-flying beetle (Autoseria rufocuprea). It is a host for the bagworm moth, Pteroma plagiophleps, in Bangladesh. The larvae of Hyposidra talaca are defoliators. Powdery mildew caused by Oidium sp. is reported from India.
BibliographyGopikumar K, Mahato KC. 1993. Germination and growth behaviour of selected tree species in the nursery. Indian-Forester. 119(2): 154-156.
Gupta GN. 1991. Effects of mulching and fertilizer application on initial development of some tree species. Forest Ecology and Management. 44 (2-4): 211-221.
Noordwijk M van, Hairiah K, Sitompul SM, Syekhfani MS, Van Noordwijk M. 1992. Rotational hedgerow intercropping + Peltophorum pterocarpum = New hope for weed-infested soils. Agroforestry Today. 4(4): 4-6; 12.
Rao MSRM, Padmaiah M, Raizada A, Ayyappa B. 1994. Productive utilisation of non-arable lands through watershed management in the semi-arid regions of India. Indian Forester. 120(1): 48-57.
Sethuraman MG, Sulochana N, Kameswaran L. 1984. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity of Peltophorum pterocarpum flowers. Fitoterapia. 55(3): 177-179.
Troup RS. 1983. Troupís Silviculture of Indian Trees, vol. IV Leguminosae. Forest Research Institute and Colleges, Dehra Dun, India. pp 33-38.
Zodape ST. 1991. The improvement of germination of some forest species by acid scarification. Indian Forester. 117(1): 61-66.
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