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Useful Tropical Plants

Terminalia elliptica

Willd.

Combretaceae

+ Synonyms

Pentaptera tomentosa Roxb.

Terminalia alata Heyne ex Roth

Terminalia coriacea (Roxb.) Wight & Arn.

Terminalia tomentosa Wight & Arn.

Common Name: Indian Laurel

Terminalia elliptica
Foliage
Photograph by: Krish Dulal
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Terminalia elliptica Terminalia elliptica Terminalia elliptica Terminalia elliptica Terminalia elliptica Terminalia elliptica Terminalia elliptica

General Information

Indian laurel is a medium-sized to fairly large deciduous tree that can reach a height of up to 35 metres with a bole up to 200cm 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.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use, whilst the valuable timber is exploited commercially[
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 valuable and commercial source of timber, it may have potential for planting in other South-East Asian countries. The tree also supplies tannins.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

E. Asia - India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.

Habitat

Common in Sal forest at elevations of 200 - 1,400 metres in Nepal[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. Mixed deciduous forest, sometimes in dry dipterocarp forest[
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
Height20.00 m
Growth RateMedium
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A tree of the tropical lowlands, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 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 grows best in areas where the mean maximum and minimum annual temperatures are within the range 22 - 35°c, though it can tolerate 5 - 48°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It can be killed by temperatures of -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 2,000mm, though can tolerate from 750 - 3,800mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Succeeds in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil and a position in full sun[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Young trees are tolerant of considerable shade[
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
]. Grows best in a moist, deep, heavy, clayey soil[
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.
]. Tolerant of poor, shallow soils, though it might remain stunted if the conditions are too harsh[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, but tolerates 4.5 - 7.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The tree has a deep taproot[
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
].
The tree coppices freely[
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
].
The bark is fire-resistant[
372
Title
Flowers of India
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.flowersofindia.net/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Good quality photos and terse details on almost 2,000 species and cultivars.
].

Edible Uses

An edible, copious transparent gum exudes in large globular tears from the tree[
439
Title
The Commercial Products of India.
Publication
 
Author
Watts. Sir George.
Publisher
John Murray, London.
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
A classic, with a comprehensive (as then known) listing of useful plants that were traded commercially at that time. It can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet.
].

The ashes of the bark yield a kind of lime, which is added to betel leaf and chewed[
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The astringent juice from the bark is used in the manufacture of palm sugar[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The bark, and especially the fruit, yield pyrogallol and catechol. Pyrogallol has antiseptic properties, whilst catechol is an antioxidant.

The bark is astringent. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[
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 juice of the bark is applied externally to cuts and wounds[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. It can also be boiled then rubbed onto the head to remove dandruff[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

A paste of the gum is applied externally to burns and is also used to treat swellings caused by inflammation[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

Other Uses

The bark, and especially the fruit, yield the tannins pyrogallol and catechol which are used to dye and to tan leather[
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.
,
439
Title
The Commercial Products of India.
Publication
 
Author
Watts. Sir George.
Publisher
John Murray, London.
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
A classic, with a comprehensive (as then known) listing of useful plants that were traded commercially at that time. It can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet.
].
Catechol is a colourless crystalline solid used as a photographic developer, as an antioxidant, and in the manufacture of dyes and pharmaceuticals[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Pyrogallol is a toxic, bitter, lustrous, white crystalline organic compound used as a photographic developer, and as an absorbent for oxygen in gas analysis[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

A copious transparent gum exudes in large globular tears from the trunk. It is used as an incense and cosmetic[
439
Title
The Commercial Products of India.
Publication
 
Author
Watts. Sir George.
Publisher
John Murray, London.
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
A classic, with a comprehensive (as then known) listing of useful plants that were traded commercially at that time. It can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet.
].

The heartwood is dark brown, beautifully variegated with streaks of darker colour; it is clearly demarcated from the reddish-white sapwood. The texture is coarse; the grain fairly straight. The wood is hard, though its durability seems quite variable. The wood is an excellent timber, it is used for a range of purposes including house building, furniture, cabinet making, tool handles, and for underwater purposes[
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
,
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
,
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.
,
372
Title
Flowers of India
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.flowersofindia.net/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Good quality photos and terse details on almost 2,000 species and cultivars.
]. When quarter-sawn, the wood yields attractive veneer[
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 an excellent fuel wood and provides an excellent charcoal[
146
Title
A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Publication
 
Author
Gamble. J. S.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1972
ISBN
-
Description
First written in the 19th century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
,
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
,
439
Title
The Commercial Products of India.
Publication
 
Author
Watts. Sir George.
Publisher
John Murray, London.
Year
1908
ISBN
 
Description
A classic, with a comprehensive (as then known) listing of useful plants that were traded commercially at that time. It can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - can be sown in containers or direct in situ. Germination rates are 5 - 50%[
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.
]. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle, placing them in deep containers to accommodate the rapidly developing taproot[
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 seed will usually store for at least two years when kept cool[
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.
].
Cuttings.
Grafting.

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