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(English) : white palle
(Tamil) : mattipal, peru, perumaram
(Trade name) : white palle
Ailanthus triphysa is a single stemmed tree or shrub. Bole cylindrical, attaining a height of 30 m and diameter of 1.2 m. Branchlets covered with many leaf scars. Young stems pubescent. Bark grey, rough, inner bark, 1.3 cm thick, yellow and fibrous. Leaves pinnate, large 45-60 cm long, crowded at branch ends; leaflets 5-10 pairs, ovate, oblong, sickle-shaped, tapering from the base, 7.5-15 x 2.5-5 cm, thin, shining, glabrous and glaucous beneath, very oblique at the base; petiolules 1 cm long. Flowers white, polygamous in lax axillary panicles; pedicels short. Calyx lobes minute, pubescent, triangular, acute. Petals about 0.4 cm long, glabrous, oblong-lanceolate. Fruit a samara, 5-7.5 cm long, reddish-brown, membranous, flat. Seed compressed, circular. The generic name ĎAilanthusí comes from Ďailanthosí (tree of heaven), the Indonesian name for Ailanthus moluccana.
Ecology and distributionNatural Habitat
A. triphysa is a light demanding Asian tree found in wet evergreen climax forests of the western Ghats, from the Konkan, North Kanara and Karnataka southwards to Travancore.
Native : India, Myanmar
Biophysical limitsAltitude: 60-1 500 m Mean annual temperature: 27 deg C Mean annual rainfall: 1 920 mm Soil type: Prefers well drained light/sandy soils.
A. triphysa is monoecious and deciduous. Flowering in India is between February and March, fruiting follows in April-May.
Propagation and managementPropagation methodsA. triphysa is propagated by direct sowing. It has been raised successfully by planting nursery-raised seedlings.
Pollarding is recommended in managing A. triphysa under a 10 year rotation. Seedlings are vulnerable to weeds and shade.
Functional usesProductsTimber: Wood is used for making boats, matches, fishing floats and weaponry accessories e.g. sword handles and spear sheaths. Gum or resin: A gum is obtained from stem cuttings of A. triphysa. Tannin or dyestuff: A dye obtained from the plantís leaves stains satin black Essential oil: Aromatic oils are obtained from the bark. Medicine: The plant roots, leaves, bark and gum exudates are used as medicine in India.
Shade or shelter: A useful shade provider. Soil improver: Leaf litter of A. triphysa on decomposition restores soil fertility. Ornamental: A tree often planted for aesthetic purposes. Intercropping: Used as live stakes for supporting black pepper (Piper nigrum). Other services: The dried bark and gum exudates are burnt as incense.
BibliographyJoshi HB. 1981. Troup's silviculture of Indian trees, Vol. III. Controller of Publications, New Delhi.
Whitmore TC (ed). 1983. Tree Flora of Malaya: A manual for Foresters. Vol. 2. Forest Department, Ministry of Primary Industries. Malaysia.
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