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Useful Tropical Plants

Butea monosperma

(Lam.) Taub.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Butea frondosa Roxb. ex Willd.

Erythrina monosperma Lam.

Phaso monosperma (Lam.) Kuntze

Common Name: Bastard Teak

Butea monosperma
A cultivated flowering tree in Kolkata, India
Photograph by: J.M.Garg
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Butea monosperma Butea monosperma Butea monosperma Butea monosperma Butea monosperma Butea monosperma Butea monosperma

General Information

Bastard teak is a small to medium-sized, slow-growing, deciduous tree, usually reaching a height of 5 - 15 metres, with occasional specimens up to 20 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The bole is usually short, cylindrical and crooked, and is up to 43 cm in diameter[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Bastard teak is a typical multipurpose tree, with a wide range of medicinal and other uses[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It is worshipped as sacred by the Hindus and frequently grown near houses, it is widely cultivated in S Asia, and grown as an ornamental also elsewhere, being valued for its profusion of bright orange, rarely sulphur-coloured flowers[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The tree is planted as a forestry species with secondary usage as a medicinal plant[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

E. Asia - Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia.

Habitat

Found throughout the drier parts of India, often gregarious in forests, open grasslands and wastelands[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. A characteristic tree of the plains, it often forms pure patches in grazing grounds and other open places[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height12.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsBirds
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A tree of drier areas in tropical and subtropical climates growing at low to moderate elevations up to 1,500 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is found in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range -4 - 49°c, and the mean annual rainfall is 450 - 4,500 mm[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Plants can tolerate some frost, though they are usually defoliated by it[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Plants prefer a sunny position, though they also thrive with some shade[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Heavy shade depresses growth[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Grows best on old alluvial soils and weathered red basalts, however it succeeds on a wide variety of soils including shallow, gravelly sites, black cotton soil, clay loams, and even saline or waterlogged soils where few other trees will grow[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
]. Seedlings thrive best on a rich loamy soil with pH 6 - 7[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
A slow-growing tree[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
If allowed to grow, trees attain a height of 3 - 5 metres with a trunk 15 - 20 cm diameter in 10 years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Plants respond well to coppicing and pollarding, and produce root suckers freely[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Under dryland conditions and in its natural habitat, coppice management yields roughly 100 kg/tree of air-dry fuel wood every 5 years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
A characteristic tree of the plains, often forming pure patches in grazing grounds and other open places, escaping extermination owing to its resistance to browsing and its ability to reproduce from seed and root suckers[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
As an exotic, it has successfully been acclimatized in Israel, although it is occasionally cut back by frost. It has also been introduced in Zimbabwe[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Edible Uses

Young roots[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].

Medicinal

Butea gum, or Bengal kino, an exudate from the tannin-rich vesicles in the bark, is used medicinally[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. A powerful astringent, it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and wounds[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].

The seeds show anthelmintic, antifungal and antibacterial activities[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The oil from the seed is used medicinally[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The flowers contain butrin and isobutrin. These compounds have been shown to have antihepatotoxic principles[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The flowers are useful in the treatment of liver disorders[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The seeds act as an anthelmintic[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

A potential anti-asthmatic agent has been reported from the bark[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]

Agroforestry Uses:

Seedlings and green branches are spread in rice fields as a salt-filtering agent and green manure. Leaf-decomposing bacteria produce a slime that is able to aggregate clay particles. In the course of this process micro-cavities are formed loosening the compacted soil and allowing leaching of noxious salts from the soil solution[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].
In India, farmers frequently use this tree to stabilize field bunds[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

The flowers are used for the preparation of a yellow dye (for silk especially, also ritually used)[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
A bright yellow to deep orange-red dye, known as butein, can be prepared from the flowers. It is used especially for dyeing silk and sometimes for cotton, and is traditionally used by Hindus to mark the forehead[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The colour is, however, fleeting, but it may be made less so by using alum or lime as a mordant, which also deepens the colour[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Sometimes myrabolans are used for this purpose, or the dye is combined with anatta (Bixa orellana)[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

A red dye is obtained from the roots[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].

The bark is a source of tannins[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

A red exudate is obtained from the tannin-rich vesicles in the bark[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It hardens into a gum, known as Butea gum, or Bengal kino and can be used medicinally, as a dye or for tannin[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It occurs in the form of round tears, often fragmentary. It may be purified by solution in water. It is of a brilliant ruby-red colour, translucent and brittle, heat rendering it more so instead of melting it[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

A small quantity of a bright, clear oil is obtained from the seeds[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

A coarse, tough, fibrous material obtained from the inner bark is used for cordage, caulking the seams of boats and making paper[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
,
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
A strong fibre, obtained from the roots, is used in India for making native sandals, ropes etc[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The soft and not durable wood is light, white or yellowish-brown when fresh, but often turning greyish because of susceptibility to sap stain. It is not of great value but is sometimes used for utensils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The wood makes a fuel of moderate quality[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The leaves are sometimes used as a fuel[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The wood is burnt for gunpowder charcoal[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Germination, which starts in about 10 - 12 days, is completed in 4 weeks[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Fresh seeds have a good germinative capacity (about 63%) at optimum germination temperature of about 30°c[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. While germinating in the wild, the seed remains in the pod which opens at the tip and allows the young shoot and root to emerge[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The cotyledons remain attached to the seedling for a considerable time[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Root suckers.

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