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Zanthoxylum armatum

Plant Profile

Family Rutaceae
Ayurvedic name Tejovati, Tumbru (fruit)
Unani name Kabab-e-Khanda
Hindi name Tejbal, Nepali dhaniya
Trade name Timru, Timur
Parts used Stem bark, fruits and seeds
za 1

Zanthoxylum armatum

Therapeutic uses

  • Fruits, seeds, and bark of tejbal are used as aromatic tonic in dyspepsia and fever.
  • Fruits and seeds are beneficial in dental troubles, thus used to prepare dental paste and powder.
  • Tender twigs are used to brush teeth and used as a remedy for toothache.
  • The essential oil from fruits (known as Wartara oil) has deodorant and antiseptic properties.

Morphological characteristics

  • Timru is an evergreen, thorny shrub or small tree, attaining a height up to 6 m.
  • Leaves are 4–20 cm long, imparipinnate, pungent, and aromatic with glabrous, narrowly winged petiole having two stipular prickles at the base.
  • Leaflets are lanceolate, glabrous on the underside, and occur in two to six pairs.
  • The plant can be recognized by its shrubby habit, dense foliage, with pungent aromatic taste, prickled trunk and branches, and small red, subglobose fruits.

Floral characteristics

  • Flowers occur in dense terminal or sparse axillary panicles and are green to yellow in colour.
  • Calyx consists of six to eight sub-acute lobes.
  • Stamens are about six to eight in number. Ripe carpels or follicles are usually solitary, pale red, and tubercled.
  • Seeds are globose, shining, and black.
  • Flowering occurs from March to May, while fruiting occurs from July to August.

Distribution

  • The species is found in hot valleys of subtropical Himalayas, from trans- Indus areas to Bhutan, up to an altitude of 2400 m, and between 700 m and 1000 m in the Khasi Hills.
  • It also occurs in the hills of Ganjam and Vishakapatnam at an altitude of about 1500 m.
za 2

Zanthoxylum armatum - plant

Climate and soil

  • The plant is adapted to subtropical climate of lower warm valleys of the Himalayas with sufficient rainfall.
  • It grows well in open pastures and secondary scrub forests.
  • Loamy or clayey soil rich in organic content is preferred for its cultivation.

Propagation material

  • Freshly harvested seeds are best for the large-scale cultivation of Zanthoxylum species. Mature seeds can be collected in June–July.
  • In the absence of sufficient seeds, terminal stem cuttings may be used as propagules.

Agro-technique

Nursery technique

Raising propagules

  • The crop can be raised by developing a nursery or by directly sowing in the main field. The seeds are sown in August– September in polybags (nursery) or main field.
  • Stem cuttings may also be planted in the nursery during monsoon in July–August.
  • The seeds germinate in 20–30 days after sowing.
  • The seedlings attain a height of 20–30 cm by June–July, when they can be transplanted to the main field.

Propagule rate and pretreatment

  • About 2–3 kg seeds are required to raise a nursery for plantation on 1 hectare.
  • Direct sowing may require about 30–50 kg seeds per hectare at a spacing of 50 cm × 50 cm.
  • No seed treatment is necessary before sowing.
  • However, stored seeds may require cold stratification for up to three months and may germinate in February– March.

Planting in the field

Land preparation and fertilizer application

  • Land may be ploughed two to three times using disc harrow and cultivator to make it friable and weed-free.
  • About 10– 12 tonnes per hectare of FYM (farmyard manure) should be mixed with the soil as a basal dose before transplantation.

Transplanting and optimum spacing

  • After 10–12 months of growth in the nursery, transplanting in the field can be done during May–June if irrigation facilities are available.
  • Otherwise, it is done in July–August (monsoon season) under rain-fed conditions.
  • A spacing of 50 cm × 50 cm is recommended, which accommodates about 40 000 plants per hectare.

Interculture and maintenance practices

  • Weeding should be carried out during the initial establishment phase, 30–45 days after transplanting, and again at 60–80 days after transplanting.
  • Later, weeding may be carried out only as and when required.

Intercropping system

  • The plant can be grown as a mono crop as well as a mixed crop with herbaceous species.

Irrigation practices

  • The plant requires frequent irrigation during the establishment stage.
  • Once established, the plants are able to survive in rain-fed conditions and only life-support irrigation is required during the summer months.

Disease and pest control

  • The crop is generally free from any disease, insect or nematode attack, and physiological disorders.
za 3

Zanthoxylum armatum - nursery

Harvest management

Crop maturity and harvesting

  • Flowering appears on five-year-old plants in March–May.
  • Fruiting occurs in July–August.
  • The crop, thus, takes five to seven years to mature.
  • Fruits are collected in May–June.
  • Stem pieces, if needed, may be cut during January–February before the flowers appear.

Post-harvest management

  • The herbage and fruits should be dried in shade.
  • The fruits may be cut into pieces for drying and extracting seeds.
  • Well-dried seeds are stored in damp-proof containers.

Yield

  • The yield of fresh and dry fruits is approximately 20 quintals per hectare and 6.50 quintals per hectare, respectively.

Source : Agro-techniques of selected medicinal plants



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