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ABOUT THE PLANT
 

The two major species of genus Madhuca found in India are Madhuca Indica (syn. Bassia latifolia) and Madhuca longifolia (syn.Brassica longifolia). Mahua is the widely accepted as local name for the fat from both these species. M. Latijolia is a deciduous tree while M.Congijolia is ever green or semi ever green tree. Attains height up to 70 ft. The tree matures and starts bearing 8 to 15 years, and fruits up to 60 years. The two species are not differentiated in Trade. The kernels are 70% of seed by weight, are seed contains two kernels, having 2.5 cm x 1.75 cm size oil content in latifolia is 46% and 52% in longifolia. In seeds oil content is +35% and protein in 16%.



BOTANICAL FEATURES

BOTANICAL NAME: Madhuca indica
FAMILY: Sapotaceae
Common Names

Sanskrit: Madhuka A.P : Ippe, Yappa Gujarat: Mahuda Hindi: Mahua, Mohwa, Mauwa Karnataka: Hippe Kerla: Ponnam, Ilupa Maharashtra: Mahwa, Mohwra Orissa: Mahula, Moha, Madgi Tamil Nadu : Illupei, elupa West Bengal: Mahwa, Maul, Mahula English: Butter tree
 
A deciduous tree, 10-15m tall and with a spreading, dense, round, shady canopy. Bark is rough, brown in color, slightly cracked and fissured, inner bark red, exudes white, milky sap when cut. Leaves elliptic, 15-25 x 8-15cm, tip pointed, base angled, texture thick, hairy beneath, nerves strong, about 12 pairs, tertiary nerves oblique, and margin entire but may be wavy. Stalk 2-4cm, reddish. Flowers in bunches at the end of the branches, white, 2cm long, pointed, sweat scented, fleshy. Fruits ovoid, fleshy, 2-4cm across, greenish, 1-4 seeded. Seeds elongate, 2 cm long, brown shining.



FLOWERING

The flowering season extends from February to April. The copious fall of succulent, corollas weave a cream colored carpet on the ground. It is rich in sugar (73%) and next to cane molasses constitute the most important raw material for alcohol fermentation. The yield of 95% alcohol is 405 liters from one tonne of dried flowers.






FRUITING

The matured fruits fall on the ground in May and July in the North and August and September in the South. The orange brown ripe fleshy berry is 2.5 to 5 cm long and contains one to four shining seeds. The seeds can be separated from the fruit wall by pressing. Drying and decortications yield 70% kernels on the weight of seeds.





HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION

Mahua is a frost resisting tree of the dry tropics and sub-tropics, common in deciduous forests and dry sal plain forests. The tree is usually found scattered in pastures and cultivated fields in central India. It is extensively cultivated near villages. Madhuca latifolia is a medium sized to large deciduous tree, distributed in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.





Climate
It performs well in the areas with rainfall between 800-1800 mm.

Soil

It is a tree of dry tropical and subtropical climate. The tree grows on a wide variety of soils but prefers sandy soil. It also performs in alluvial soil.

Biophysical limits

Altitude: up to 1 200 m Mean annual temperature: 2-46 deg C Mean annual rainfall: 550-1 500 mm Soil type: M. latifolia grows best in deep loamy or sandy-loam soils with good drainage, it also occurs on shallow bouldery, clayey and calcereous soils.

 
 
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