It is a large tree, frequently found in southern tropical semi evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forest and tropical fresh water swamp forest and distributed throughout the greater part of India and in Western Ghats in South, in Central Maharashtra - Sahyadris, in North Eastern part - Assam, lower hills of Darjeeling, Terai, Bihar, Orissa, in Singh bum valley and also in Andaman Islands. It is found below 1000 m altitude and normally where there is more than 1500 mm rain/year but it can also grow in dry areas with as little as 200 mm rain/year. It is very light demanding species and intolerant to frost. It can grow on a variety of soils and tolerates periodic flooding.
In India no tree improvement activities have been carried out. IFGTB has initiated tree improvement work by selecting superior tress. Progeny trial with 45 progenies has been established in Maramalai Nagar, Chennai and few more progeny trials with more than 60 progenies will be established shortly. About six clones are selected and multiplication on large scale is in progress to establish clonal plantations.
The ripened fruits are orange in colour, harvested from the trees during the months of September to December by climbing or shaking the branches after spreading covers on the ground. The collected fruits can be allowed to rot for three to four days and pulp is washed off by hands in a bucket of water, seeds settled at the bottom are taken out and dried well. The fruits are rubbed to form a paste like slurry, which is passed through a 0.50 mm sieve plate and shaken vigorously. The blackish paste sieved through the plate is collected into a pan and dried to extract seeds. Average dry weight of each fruit is 11.5 gm and wet weight 50 gm. Each fruit on an average yields 456 mg of pure seeds. Other method is by cutting the fruits into small parts and allowing them to dry and after a few days crush the small parts and separate the seeds. One gram has around 23,000-25,000 seeds. The separated seeds are allowed to dry in shade and can be stored in air tight container for 9 months.
Nursery Technique: The sieved seeds need no pre-sowing treatment. Seeds of about 0.1g (about 2500 seeds) can be sown in galvanized or wooden trays filled with fine river sand and soil and treated with fungicide. The seeds are better mixed with sterilized sand before sowing. They are sown in February at the rate of about 0.2 gm of seed per m2 of bed. Winter sowing is not successful. Percentage of germination is high. The germination of A.cadamba seeds in open beds is generally difficult. Therefore, plants are invariably raised in shaded beds to exclude insolation and splashing effects of rain water. Before sowing, the beds are thoroughly wetted and seeds are broadcast on the top taking care that seeds do not get buried in the soil, instead they are patted with hand. After sowing, watering is done with a fine rose can, frequently and sparingly, according to requirements as the young seedling are sensitive to both drought and excessive moisture. Germination takes place in about three weeks from the date of sowing. After germination shading is removed. The germination percentage is 60-90%. The seedlings from the tray can be pricked and transplanted in the poly bag container with fungicide after attaining a height of 5 cm. Shade cover is needed after transplanting. Growth is fast under tropical conditions and plants could reach plantable size (30 cm) in four to five months. Seedlings require periodic watering in the first stages of development. Common mistakes in propagation are over-watering and associated disease problems, over-shading and allowing the germinants to become too large for easy transplanting leading to malformed tap roots or root curling in the pots. About 2 lakhs seedlings can be obtained from 1 kg of seeds in nurseries. Out planting is done with 35-50 cm high seedlings.
It is observed that the treatment of IBA and NAA at 500 ppm is giving good results than other treatments. Hence to get more rooting and survival the vegetative cuttings of N. cadamba has to be treated with IBA 500 ppm and NAA 500 ppm.
It grows well in deep moist alluvial soils, often along river banks. The soil should be well drained and should not get affected by flood. The Kadam trees are planted at an spacement of 5 x 5m spacing during the monsoon season. To ensure successful establishment, seedlings should be planted with their balls of earth. Closer spacing leads to height growth which is not preferred much by pencil and ply wood industry. Wider spacing can be adopted to have more girth and also for intercropping during the initial period (1-2 years).
It has no adverse effects on the crops sown as under storey if proper care is taken. For better results, the spacing adopted should be at least 5 x 5m/ 6 x 6m. Dry paddy can be cultivated up to 3 years without much difficulty. Once the trees are grown up, it is desirable to change the cropping pattern, i.e., ginger, turmeric etc besides vegetables, pine apple, arhar and pulses. Trees are also planted in the boundaries of the field. Hence in farm forestry, the farmers can get more yields of crops and generate revenue from N. cadamba tree as well.
In Tamil Nadu, about 70-100 t/ha at a rotation of 6-7 years was realized through seed raised plantations and it can be increased 10-15 % more by Introduction of clones and through site-clone matching in six years rotation depending on the fertility level of the soil. Approximate yield calculated by felling the trees in the plantation raised through seeds is as follows.
|Year (Rotation)||Number of trees||Wood yield (tons)||Sale price /tonne (‘)||Income (‘)|
|Tree||8||500||112 (500 x 225kg/tree)||7000||7,84,000|
Approximate yield and income/ha under irrigated condition
Total Net benefit = Rs.7,84,000 (Total income)– Rs. 128050 (Cost incurred) = Rs. 6,55,950 (@ annual rate of income Rs. 81,994 per year.)
Caterpillars of moth Arthroschista hilaralis (pyralidae) and Margaronia hilaralis a common leaf rolling insect pest are reported. Chemical control with 0.051 B.H.C in water for the insect Margaronia hilaralis is reported. In India, a longhorn beetle, Batocere numitor (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) bores in to the base of the stem of unhealthy trees.The main diseases reported are on nursery seedlings and include damping- off by Fusarium and Pythium spp. The fungus Scytalidium lignicola is found on living branches of N.cadamba. Apart from nursery diseases, which can be controlled by appropriate nursery practices and fungicides, there appears to be no major threat of disease.
The wood is extensively used for ceiling boards, light construction work, packing cases, planking, carving and turnery. The wood makes good veneers and plywood suitable for the manufacture of commercial grade plywood and tea chest plywood. In Assam wood is mainly used in the plywood industries. It is also suitable for the manufacture of pencils, match boxes, and splints. Suitable for writing and printing paper giving 48.6% yield and over 6000 m breaking length. Brown wrapping paper can also be prepared by sulphate process. Fruits are edible. Bark used for relieving fever and extract of leaves are used for mouth gargle.