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Pongamia pinnata - (L.) Pierre
                 
Common Name Pongam, Karum Tree, Poonga-Oil Tree, Indian Beech
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The seeds are poisonous[309 ]. Pounded and roasted seeds used to be utilized as fish poison[303 ].(Seed is poisonous if ingested)
Habitats Occurs naturally in lowland forest on limestone and rocky coral outcrops on the coast, along the edges of mangrove forest and along tidal streams and rivers, often with its roots in fresh or saltwater[303 ].
Range E. Asia - Indian subcontinent, through south-east Asia to north-eastern Australia, Fiji and Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Found in East Asia, Pongamia pinnata or Pongnam is a tropical, fast-growing, medium to large tree usually growing about 15-25 m in height and 50-80cm in bole diameter. It has a broad crown of drooping branches, straight or crooked bole, extensive lateral roots, and creamy white or pink flowers that form into clusters. It is a tree with multiple uses, particularly valued for being a source of oil, wood, medicines, dye, etc. Aside from such functions, Pongnam is planted as an ornamental and is used in soil conservation and soil erosion control practices. It is capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen thus it can be used as green manure. There are no edible uses. However, there are several medicinal uses of this plant. Plant parts, in different forms, are used in the treatment or as relief from various conditions such as but not limited to dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, skin diseases, bronchitis and cough, herpes, diabetes, spleen enlargement, sores, and ulcers. Root juice, in particular, is used to clean teeth. Seed oil is used as lubricant, varnish, water-paint binder, and in soap manufacturing. Fiber obtained from the bark is made into ropes, twines, or strings. The wood is not durable but can be used in cabinet making, posts, agricultural implements, tool handles, cartwheels, paper making, etc. It is also used as fuel wood. Established plants are resistant to drought. Propagation method is through seed and germination takes place within 1-5 weeks of sowing.

Pongamia pinnata Pongam, Karum Tree, Poonga-Oil Tree, Indian Beech


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Pongamia pinnata Pongam, Karum Tree, Poonga-Oil Tree, Indian Beech
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Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Pongamia pinnata is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Synonyms
Cytisus pinnatus L. Derris indica (Lam.) Bennet Galedupa indica Lam. Galedupa pinnata (L.) Taub. Mil

Habitats
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



The seed oil is given as a stomachic and cholagogue in the treatment of dyspepsia and cases of sluggish liver[303 ]. It is used externally as a liniment for rubbing on skin diseases and rheumatic joints[303 ]. It has been shown to be effective in enhancing the pigmentation of skin affected by leucoderma or scabies[414 ]. The powdered seed is given as an expectorant in the treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough, and is also prescribed as a febrifuge and tonic[303 ]. A paste made from the powdered seed is spread on sores and rheumatic joints[303 ]. An infusion of the leaves is used to relieve rheumatism[303 ]. A decoction is used as a cough remedy[303 ]. The leaves are crushed and applied as a poultice for the treatment of parasitic skin diseases and to relieve bleeding haemorrhoids[303 ].The expressed juice is used on herpes and itches[303 ]. The flowers are claimed to have anti-diabetic action[303 ]. The fresh stem bark is astringent and is taken internally to relieve bleeding haemorrhoids[303 ]. It is also applied to reduce the enlargement of the spleen[303 ]. The root bark contains a bitter alkaloid and is used as an abortifacient[303 ]. The antiseptic root juice is put on sores and ulcers and used to clean teeth[303 ].
Other Uses
Agroforestry Uses: Because of its extensive network of lateral roots, and its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, this is a preferred species for controlling soil erosion and binding sand dunes[303 ]. Because it tolerates moderate levels of salinity, it is an ideal candidate for recovering a variety of wastelands such as saline soil reclamation[303 ]. It is also used in reforestation of marginal land[303 ]. Grass grows normally beneath the tree so it has been planted to provide shade in pastures. It is also grown as a windbreak and shade provider for tea plantations in Sri Lanka[303 , 317 ]. The incorporation of leaves and the presscake into soils improves fertility[303 ]. Decomposed flowers are valued in the tropics as rich nutrition for special plants, especially when grown in greenhouses[303 ]. The leafy twigs are used for green manuring rice paddies, sugarcane fields and coffee plantations[317 ]. The tree is used as a host for the hemiparasitic sandalwood, Santalum album[303 ]. Other Uses The seed contains 27 - 40% of a thick, yellow or reddish-brown oil[272 , 303 ]. The oil has a bitter taste, a disagreeable aroma and a specific gravity of 0.9371 at 15?c[303 ]. It is used as a lubricant, varnish, water-paint binder and in soap making[303 ]. The seed oil was formerly indispensable as an illuminant in lamps, but has been largely replaced by kerosene[303 ]. Two kilos of mature pods will yield about 1 kilo of husked kernels. Extracted oil amounts to 13.4% of the whole seed pod; 26.97% of the kernels[303 ]. The presscake, when applied to the soil, is valued as a pesticide, particularly against nematodes[303 ]. In rural areas, the dried leaves are stored with grain to repel insects[303 ]. The bark fibre is made into string, twine or rope[303 ]. The roots yield a natural pigment called 'pinnatin'[303 ]. The wood ash is employed in dyeing[303 ]. The wood varies from white to yellowish-grey with no distinct heartwood[303 ]. It is beautifully grained and medium to coarse textured[303 ]. Although it is a moderately strong timber that is relatively easy to saw, turn and finish, the wood is not considered a quality timber because it is not durable, tends to split and warp during seasoning and is susceptible to insect attack[303 ]. It is used for cabinet making, cartwheels, posts, agricultural implements, tool handles and combs[303 ]. It is also suitable as a source of pulp for paper making[303 ] With a calorific value of 4 600 kcal/kg, pongam is commonly used as a fuel wood[303 ].
Cultivation details
Agroforestry Services: Crop shade;  Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen;  Agroforestry Services: Windbreak;  Fodder: Bank;  Industrial Crop: Biomass;  Industrial Crop: Oil;  Management: Coppice;  Management: Standard;  New Crop.

Native to humid tropical and subtropical environments, it is found at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres[303 ]. It grows in areas where the mean annual temperature ranges from a minimum of 1 - 16?c, up to a maximum of 27 - 38 (exceptionally 50)?c, and the mean annual rainfall is 500 - 2,500 mm, with a dry season of 2 - 6 months[303 ]. Mature plants can tolerate light frosts[303 ]. The plant can grow on most soil types[303 ]. The best growth is found on deep well-drained sandy loams with assured moisture, but it will also grow on sandy soils and heavy swelling clay soils[303 ]. It does not do well on dry sands, although it tolerates saline conditions, alkalinity and waterlogged soils[303 ]. Tolerant of shade, it can grow under the shade of other trees, but will also grow well in full sun[303 ]. Established plants are drought resistant[303 ]. Plants are wind-resistant, tolerating at least some salt-laden air[309 ]. Plants become nutrient deficient if growing in soils with a pH higher than 7.5[309 ]. The plant has a long, thick taproot and widely spreading lateral roots[414 ]. The spread of roots on this species, about 9 metres in 18 years, is greater than most other species; moreover it produces root suckers profusely[303 ]. Because of these characteristics, pongam is unsuitable for agroforestry and has the potential to become a weed if not managed carefully[303 ]. Pod production commences when seedlings are 5 - 7 years old[303 ]. The pods do not open naturally, and must decay before the seeds can germinate[303 ]. Individual trees yield 9 - 90 kg of pods annually, while mature trees yield 8 - 24 kg of seeds annually[303 ]. Growth of young trees is fairly slow; a growth of 1.3 metres in height and 0.4 cm in diameter in 13 months was recorded in India[303 ]. Trees coppice well and can also be pollarded[303 ]. When planted as a shade or ornamental tree, pruning may be necessary to obtain a trunk of appropriate height[303 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Spring. Bloom Color: Pink Violet/Lavender White/Near White. Spacing: 30-40 ft. (9-12 m).
Propagation
Seed - requires no pre-treatment. The seed is usually sown in situ, germinating within 1 - 5 weeks of sowing[303 ]. Germination is hypogeal and the radicle develops quickly before the plumule emerges[303 ]. If sown in a nursery bed, the seed can be planted at a close spacing, as young plants tolerate shade well - a spacing of 7.5 x 15 cm is recommended[303 ]. Seedlings attain a height of 25 - 30 cm in their first growing season[303 ]. Transplanting to the field should occur at the beginning of the next rainy season when seedlings are about 60 cm in height[303 ]. Seedlings have large root systems and soil should be retained around the roots during transplanting[303 ]. Seed storage behaviour is orthodox and seeds remain viable for about a year when stored in air-tight containers[303 ]. Natural reproduction is profuse by seed and common by root suckers[303 ]. Spontaneous seedlings and root suckers are produced and may cause serious weed problems[303 ]. Stump cuttings of 1 - 2 cm root-collar diameter[303 ]. Branch cuttings[303 ]. Root suckers[303 ].
Other Names
Magul karanda, Panigrahi, Pongam tree, agirunadanm, amirtavalli, avittal, batti karanaja, coqueluche, dahar-karanja, dahara, dahara karanja, dithouri, gaanuga, gal-karanda, ganuga, ghanerakaranj, ghrtakaranja, gh?takarañja, grtakaranja, honge, honge beej, honge beru, honge-marq, hulagilu, ileanji, indian beach|magul karanda, indian beech, kagu, kalimara, kanaja, kanaji, kanajo, kanji, kanuga, kanuga-chettu, kanugu, karanajnu, karanda, karang, karanj, karanja, karanjaka, karanji, karañja (leaf), karañja (root bark), karañja (root), karañja (seed), karañja (stem bark), karañjaka, karchave, karnaja, karnja, karuaini, karuanini, kiramal, konja, korach, koranjo, lamiga, magul-karanda, minnar punnu, mullikulam tree, naktahva, naktamala, naktamata, naktamala, naktahva, naktahva, nata, nata karanja, natakaranja, natakarnaja, paphri, ponga, pongam, pongam oil tree, pongam tree, pongana, pongu, pongum seed, poona, pungai, pungamaram, pungammaram, pungan, pungu, punju, punku, putikaranja, pu?kam viththu (seed), pu?kam verp??ai (root bark), pu?ku, smooth leaved pongamia, sukhchain, ungu, unu, vesi ne wai, vesivesi.
Found In
Magul karanda, Panigrahi, Pongam tree, agirunadanm, amirtavalli, avittal, batti karanaja, coqueluche, dahar-karanja, dahara, dahara karanja, dithouri, gaanuga, gal-karanda, ganuga, ghanerakaranj, ghrtakaranja, gh?takarañja, grtakaranja, honge, honge beej, honge beru, honge-marq, hulagilu, ileanji, indian beach|magul karanda, indian beech, kagu, kalimara, kanaja, kanaji, kanajo, kanji, kanuga, kanuga-chettu, kanugu, karanajnu, karanda, karang, karanj, karanja, karanjaka, karanji, karañja (leaf), karañja (root bark), karañja (root), karañja (seed), karañja (stem bark), karañjaka, karchave, karnaja, karnja, karuaini, karuanini, kiramal, konja, korach, koranjo, lamiga, magul-karanda, minnar punnu, mullikulam tree, naktahva, naktamala, naktamata, naktamala, naktahva, naktahva, nata, nata karanja, natakaranja, natakarnaja, paphri, ponga, pongam, pongam oil tree, pongam tree, pongana, pongu, pongum seed, poona, pungai, pungamaram, pungammaram, pungan, pungu, punju, punku, putikaranja, pu?kam viththu (seed), pu?kam verp??ai (root bark), pu?ku, smooth leaved pongamia, sukhchain, ungu, unu, vesi ne wai, vesivesi.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Least Concern
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(L.) Pierre
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For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
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Subject : Pongamia pinnata  

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