|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
Synonyms: Pongamia glabra, Millettia pinnata, Derris indica.
Common names: Indian Beech, Honge, Pongam.
Common Hindi name: Karanj.
Plant: 15-25m tall. Deciduous tree with a large canopy.
Leaves: Alternate, compound pinnate leaves, with 5 or 7 leaflets, arranged in 2 or 3 pairs, and a single terminal leaflet. Leaflets 5-10cm long, 4-6cm wide, and pointed at the tip.
Flower: Racemes of white, purple, and pink small flowers.
Fruit: 3-6cm long, 2-3cm wide. Elliptical, thick walled pods, usually with a single seed.
Thought to have originated in India and is found throughout Asia.
Withstanding temperatures slightly below 0°C to 50°C and annual rainfall of 5–25dm, the tree grows wild on sandy and rocky soils, including oolitic limestone, but will grow in most soil types, even with its roots in salt water. The dense shade it provides slows the evaporation of surface water and its root structures promote nitrogen fixation, which moves nutrients from the air into the soil.
A thick yellow-orange to brown oil is extracted from seeds. The oil has a bitter taste and a disagreeable aroma, thus it is not considered edible. In India, the oil is used as a fuel for cooking and lamps. The oil is also used as a lubricant, water-paint binder, pesticide, and in soap making and tanning industries. The oil is known to have value in folk medicine for the treatment of rheumatism, as well as human and animal skin diseases. It is effective in enhancing the pigmentation of skin affected by leucoderma or scabies. The oil of Pongam is also used as a substitute for diesel.
Dried leaves are used as an insect repellent in stored grains. The oil cake, when applied to the soil, has pesticidal value, particularly against nematodes and also improve soil fertility.
Dis. Ac., peter_stoeckl, maurydv, bahadir, Ishi, jpdenk has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.