Economic Importance of Madhuca indica

Madhuca indica
Madhuca indica

Family:  Sapotaceae
Genus: Madhuca
Species: M. Longifolia
Common name:  Mahua, Mohua
Origin: India

Description:  Medium to large sized deciduous tree, spreading branches and a large rounded crown. Leaves are clustered at the end of branches, elliptic, obovate. Flowers are small; cream- coloured and produced in clusters at end of branches. Fruit a green egg- shaped fleshy berry. Seeds are either double convex or flattened on one or two sides.

Economic Importance:

  • The timber can be put to a variety of uses such as building purposes as beams, door and window frames, posts etc. It is suitable for heavy work such as bridges, pile, sugar presses, cart wheels, ships, boats, sport goods, furniture etc. When seasoned it is suitable for agricultural implements, drum and carving. It is a good fuel wood.
  • The tree is of multiple use to the local inhabitants for its leaves, flowers, fruits and bark furnish forest produce of commercial importance. The fleshy corollas are edible as they are a rich source of sugars, vitamins, calcium and essential oil. Flowers are largely used for preparation of country made distilled liquor. The flowers can also be fed to the livestock. The outer part of the fruit is eaten raw or cooked and the inner part is made into flour for cakes. The seed kernel yields 5.1% of fatty oil which constitutes “Mohwa oil or butter of commerce”. The oil is used in cooking, for burning in lamps, in the manufacture of margarine and soap and many other minor uses. The oil cake is used as a fertilizer, fish poison and a s a cheap substitute for shikakai for washing hair. There is a great scope for expanding industrial units to tap non-edible of this species.
  • The leaves yield fodder of medium quality and are lopped in M.P. Maharashtra, Orissa and U.P. at the times of scarcity.

 

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