||Sual, Safed Kikar
||Khejri, Khejra, Jand, Thand
Plant of Prosopis cineraria
- The plant is much branched shrub or small tree. Branches are slender, glabrous, with compressed, straight and scattered prickles. Leaves are pinnate, glabrous or puberulous. Pinnae are usually 2-pairs and opposite.
- leaflets are sub sessile, oblong, obliquely rounded, mucronate at apex, base rounded and very oblique.
- The plant has deep root system and has low requirements for water and nitrogen.
- Shoots grow to produce new leaves, which appear twice in a year in March-April and July-October and thereafter these leaves develop slowly.
- Flowering stars in January, reaches in full bloom during February - March. Fruit setting starts from April onwards which attains maturity in May.
- Flowers are small, yellow, in slender spikes, arranged in short peduncled axillary panicles. Pod is 12-25 cm long, pendulous, torulose. Seeds are many, immersed in sweetish mealy pulp, oblong and brown.
- It is an important leguminous multipurpose tree species of the Indian Thar desert. In nature, it reproduces by seeds only.
- However, this tree can be raised through air-layering and sprouting of vegetative buds on the mature stem and roots.
- The tree grows abundantly throughout the Rajasthan in different agro-climatic regions.
Climate and Soil
- It has ability to grow in semi-arid and arid marginal environments receiving low rain fall of 250-500 mm/annum and yet it produces profuse flowering and fruiting.
- The soil with 2:2:1 ratio of sand : clay : FYM is best for plant growth and increasing biomass. Soil mixture with 50% clay is preferred.
- Propagation material is seeds collected during May-June from plus trees.
- Raising Propagules : Plants raised through seeds show 90.0% survival under field conditions. About 20 gm seeds/ha are required. Seeds are pretreated with concentrated H2SO4 for 15-20 minutes and sown in polybag at 2.0 cm depth during May and subsequently one month old seedling is transplanted in the field during July-August at 5m X 5m spacing in field.
Planting in the Field
- Land Preparation and Manure Application : The land is prepared by ploughing 3-4 times with disc plough and the soil is brought to a fine tilth. The land is divided into plots of convenient size. The main and subirrigation channels are laid out. Pits of 45cm X 45cm X 45cm size are dug at a spacing of 5m X 5m and should be filled with top soil and well decomposed FYM in the ratio of 1:1.
- Transplanting and Optimum Spacing : One month old seedlings is transplanted in field conditions.
- Intercropping System : Intercropping of crops like pearl millet and cluster bean could be grown.
- Irrigation Practices : The crop requires monthly irrigation for achieving maximum growth of above and below ground biomass and bark yield.
- Weed Control : Weeding and hoeing is done manually after every 15-20 days in rainy season and after rains, at same intervals upto 3-4 years of age.
- Disease and Pest Control: No serious insects and pests were observed in this plant in the early stage except termite attack.
- Crop Maturity and Harvesting : It is a perennial slow growing tree. It takes about 7 to 8 years for flowering, fruiting and bark production.
- Post-harvest Management : Scrapping of bark from the older branches is done in the month of November by knife and stored in dry shady and ventilated place in gunny bags for marketing.
- Chemical Constituents : The flowers contain a flavone prosogerin A and a chalcone – prosogerin B; seeds contain flavones – prosogerin C, prosogerin D and prosogerin E and polyphenolics – gallic acid, patuletin, luteolin and related glycosides; seeds also gave an alkaloid specigerin. Heart wood contains n-decanol, β-sitosterol, flavanones.
- Yield : After 2 years of plantation, approximately 500 kg of bark is obtained from one hectare plantation.
- The bark is used for medicine. Bark is dry, acrid, bitter with sharp taste.
- It has anthelmintic property and prescribed in treatment of bronchitis, asthma, piles etc.
- The pods are rich source of protein and carbohydrate and eaten by animals as fodder.
- It is also eaten as vegetable and pickle by local people.
- The leaves are palatable and nutritious feed for livestock in desert.
Source : Agro-techniques of Selected Medicinal Plants
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