- Family name: Fabaceae
- Japanese name: KUROYONA
- English name: Indian beech, pongam oiltree
- Scientific name: Millettia pinnata (Pongamia pinnata)
- Country of origin: India, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar
It is an evergreen or deciduous tree with height of 8–25 m and trunk diameter of 50–80 cm. It has imparipinnately compound leaves with 5-9 leaflets. Apart from the leaf apex, the leaflets are opposite each other. The laminae are leathery. Dense grayish white lenticels grow on the terminal branches. 6-27 cm axillary racemous inflorescence is attached. It has 1-2 seeds in one pod (legumes). Pod dehiscence does not naturally occur. The seeds are kidney shaped. From 5 to 7 years after planting it will come to fruition, producing approximately 8-24 kg of seed annually. It grows naturally near rivers and coasts, and has strong salt tolerance, alkali tolerance, and flooding tolerance. It grows poorly in dry sandy soil, but it can be cultivated in most soils. Also has strong xerotolerance and can grow in areas with annual precipitation of 500–2,500 mm. In addition, the optimum temperature range is wide-ranging, and mature trees can withstand an average annual temperature of 1-50°C. Propagation is principally performed by seeding.
The seeds contain 27-40% oil and have been used in India, etc. as lubricants, varnishes, binders for watercolors, and raw material for soap. In recent years, seed oil has also attracted attention as a biofuel. In India, this species is also used as a host of rack crayfish, which is a raw material of rack dye, and sandalwood, which is a semi-parasitic plant. Furthermore, because it has developed side roots, it is planted for prevention of soil erosion and sand dune stabilization. In Sri Lanka, it is planted as a windbreak forest for tea plantations. Because it has salt tolerance, it is used for environmental restoration in soil with salt accumulation and areas with cultivation limits. Because this species in family Fabaceae coexists with rhizobia, it also has a soil improvement effect.
Leaf (animal feed, medicine, insect repellent), seed (medicine, fish poison), seed oil (fuel, medicine, leather tanning), seed residue after oil expression (fertilizer, insecticide), flower (medicine, nectar), trunk/branch (fuel, lumber, fiber: papermaking, dye), bark (medicine, fiber: string, twine, rope), root (dye), root sap (medicine)
Orwa, C., Mutua, A., Kindt, R., Jamnadass, R. and Anthony, S. 2009. Agroforestree
Database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. (http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sites/treedbs/treedatabases.asp)
Scott, P.T., Pregelj, L., Chen, N., Hadler, J.S., Djordjevic, M.A. and
Gresshoff, P.M. 2008. Pongamia pinnata: A untapped resources for the biofuels industry of the future. BioEnergy
Research 1: 2-11.
Zhang, D. and Pedley, L. 2010. Pongamia. Flora of China 10: 187-188. (http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200012287)
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