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(Bengali) : lud, mahanim, tun, tuni
(Burmese) : taung-tama, taw thamgo, thit kador
(English) : Australian red cedar, Australian toon, Burma cedar, Burma toon, Indian cedar, Indian mahogany, Indian toon, moulmein cedar, Queensland red cedar, red cedar, toon tree, toona tree
(Filipino) : danupra
(French) : cedre rouge
(German) : Australisches mahagoni
(Hindi) : lim, maha nim, tun, tuni
(Indonesian) : kukoru, malapoga, suren kapar, suren mal
(Javanese) : suren kapar, suren mal
(Khmer) : chomcha
(Lao (Sino-Tibetan)) : mai-yom-horm
(Malay) : ranggoh, surian limpaga
(Spanish) : cedro
(Tamil) : agil, cevvagil, mala-vembu, santhana-vembu, thevatharam, thevetharem, tunumaram
(Thai) : yom-hom
(Urdu) : tun
(Vietnamese) : l[as]t kh[es]t
Toona ciliata is a large deciduous tree with a spreading crown, commonly attaining a height of 20-30 m and a girth of 1.8-3 m. Bark dark grey or reddish-brown, smooth up to middle age, afterwards rough, with shallow reticulate cracks exfoliating in irregular woody scales. Blaze 1.3-1.5 m, fibrous throughout, pink or pinkish-brown, sometimes with just a few white bands towards the outside, turning brown on exposure, bitter to the taste, juice turning purple on the blade of a knife. Leaves 30-50 cm long, on young trees up to 90 cm long, usually imparipinnate, sometimes paripinnate by the abortion of the terminal leaflet; leaflets 11-29, opposite or alternate, 5-15 x 2-6 cm, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, glabrous, pubescent, margin entire or wavy, base oblique; petiolules 0.3-1.3 cm long. Flowers small, honey scented, cream coloured, in drooping or sub-erect terminal panicles, usually shorter than the leaves. Calyx divided nearly to the base. Petals 5 mm long, ovate-oblong, sub-acute, with ciliate margins. Capsule dark brown, 1.8-2.5 x 0.5-0.8 cm, oblong, usually smooth outside, sometimes sparsely lenticellate. Seeds pale brown, very light, winged at both ends, 1.3-1.5 cm long including the wing. The synonymous name ‘cedrela’ is from the Latin ‘cedrus’, the cedar, the name given on account of its scented wood.
Ecology and distributionHistory of cultivation
First recorded in Zimbabwe in 1903, and now one of the most commonly planted trees there. Introduced to Zambia in 1917 and successfully established at 1200 m. Planted fairly extensively in Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda.
A tree of subtropical climates, T. ciliata grows in moist localities such as ravines, banks of streams and even swamps. It grows best in fire-protected savannah, abandoned cultivation and in small gaps in forest, and does not do well on dry hillslopes.
Native : Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
Exotic : Australia, Kenya, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United States of America, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Biophysical limitsAltitude: 0-1500 m, Mean annual temperature: -1 - deg. C Mean annual rainfall: 750-4000 mm Soil type: Prefers well-drained, deep, fertile soils and does not do well on wet, compacted or poor sandy ones.
In areas with a marked dry season all the foliage is shed for a part of the year. The flowers are functionally unisexual but usually with well-formed vestiges of the opposite sex present. In female flowers, the anthers do not open and are shrivelled; in male flowers the ovary has vestigial ovules. T. ciliata is reported to bear ripe fruit throughout the year. The seeds are released from the capsules at intervals. Seeds are light and wind dispersed.
Propagation and managementPropagation methodsNatural regeneration is profuse even in areas outside its natural range. Good natural reproduction can be induced by clearing the ground in the vicinity of seed bearers. For a high germination percentage, the seeds are best collected off the tree. It is best propagated artificially by planting 2-season-old stumps. Germination takes 8-15 days and fresh seed have a germination rate of 50-80%. Seed germinate quicker and better under shade and should be broadcast thinly on raised and shaded nursery beds soon after collection.
Toona is a moderate light demander; however, the young plants require some side protection from direct sun. Trees growing in such situations develop a tall, clean bole up to a height of 9-12 m; in the open they tend to have a large, spreading crown and short, clean bole 3.6-4.2 m. Seedlings are sensitive to fire, cannot withstand severe drought and are susceptible to suppression by weeds. The tree is frost hardy. It coppices well and produces plentiful root suckers. It has a spreading superficial root system, which may have adverse effects on the growth of agricultural crops. The tendency to become branchy should be controlled by close initial spacing. Thinning is required from the 4th year, and thereafter every 5 years. If tended and watered in the early stages it is capable of growing in comparatively dry areas, such as those with rainfall as low as 750 mm, and with maximum temperatures as high as 49 deg. C. Good drainage is necessary for optimum development of the seedlings, as excessive moisture restricts root development.
Orthodox seed storage behaviour; 90% germination after 12 months’ storage in polythene bags at 5-8 deg. C with 34-12.9% mc; complete loss of viability after 3 months at room temperature. There are 280 000-425 000 seeds/kg.
Functional usesProductsFood: In Southeast Asia the leaves are used as a vegetable. Fodder: The leaves are sometimes lopped for fodder. Apiculture: An important bee plant; it is one the species for honey production in Bangladesh. Timber: Sapwood is pinkish-white or pale yellow-brown and the heartwood pale brown, cedar brown, dark red-brown or brick red when 1st cut. It darkens upon exposure to a rich reddish-brown with darker brown streaks. Grain is generally straight to somewhat interlocked. Texture is moderately close and uneven, and the wood is lustrous. A strong, fragrant, long-lasting spicy odour is usually present. The heartwood is moderately resistant to decay. Material from Australia is reported to finish cleanly and take a high polish. Staining is satisfactory, and the timber takes both water- and oil-based paints well. Timber produced by T. ciliata (not a true cedar) has moderate weight, strength and hardness. The wood has a variety of uses such as for boat building, cabinet making, cigar boxes, matchboxes, decorative plywood and veneer, food containers, furniture, interior trim, joinery, musical instruments, ornamental work, panelling, boxes and crates, building materials, exterior uses, millwork, mouldings. Sawdust from machining operations has been reported to cause dermatitis in some individuals. Tannin or dyestuff: The flowers contain a red colouring matter and also a sulphur-coloured dye. Cotton and woollen fabric can be dyed a dull yellow by mere immersion in a boiling extract of T. ciliata flowers. The flowers are used in conjunction with safflower and turmeric to produce a sulphur-yellow colour. Bark contains tannin, and it has also been used traditionally for twines and the manufacture of string bags. Essential oil: An aromatic oil can be extracted from the fruit. Poison: Some extracts from the bark have insect-repellent properties. Medicine: Various parts of the plant, but especially the bark, are used medicinally, e.g. as an astringent and tonic, to treat dysentery and to heal wounds. Other products: The wood is used for shiitake mushroom culture.
Shade or shelter: Trees may be planted as firebreaks. Reclamation: T. ciliata has been planted for reforestation. Ornamental: A popular avenue tree planted along roadsides in north India.
Pests and diseasesSeveral species of insect attack and damage forest trees and young plantations. Two main ones are Hypsipyla robusta (mahogany collar-borer) and Pagiophloeus longiclavis (toon and mahogany shootborer). T. ciliata is susceptible to attack by dry-wood termites, Anobium borers and Lyctus. In some places, young saplings are attacked and even killed by the parasite Loranthus scurrula. Plantation material is reported to have very little natural resistance to attack by decay fungi. The most important are Ganoderma lucidum, causing root and butt rot, which may be lethal, Phellinus spp., causing white rot of fallen timber or gaining access through wounds exposing dead sapwood, and Trametes straminea (white stringy rot), usually saprophytic but also a wound parasite causing trunk rot. Seedlings and saplings are browsed readily by deer and cattle.
BibliographyHong TD, Linington S, Ellis RH. 1996. Seed storage behaviour: a compendium. Handbooks for Genebanks: No. 4. IPGRI.
Joshi HB. 1981. Troup's silviculture of Indian trees, Vol. III. Controller of Publications, New Delhi.
Katende AB et al. 1995. Useful trees and shrubs for Uganda. Identification, Propagation and Management for Agricultural and Pastoral Communities. Regional Soil Conservation Unit (RSCU), Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA).
Lemmens RHMJ, Soerianegara I, Wong WC (eds.). 1995. Plant Resources of South-east Asia. No 5(2). Timber trees: minor commercial timbers. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.
Luna RK. 1996. Plantation trees. International Book Distributors, Dehra Dun, India.
Noad T, Birnie A. 1989. Trees of Kenya. General Printers, Nairobi.
Singh RV. 1982. Fodder trees of India. Oxford & IBH Co. New Delhi, India.
Storrs AEG. 1995. Know your trees: some common trees found in Zambia. Regional Soil Conservation Unit (RSCU).
Streets RJ. 1962. Exotic forest trees of the British Commonwealth. Claredon Press, Oxford.
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