Dalbergia sissoo (Sugar Maple)
The name “dalbergia” comes from the Latin word “dallabium”, which means “sweet maple”. The scientific name of this species is D.
sylvatica, but it is commonly known as sugar maple or sweet chestnut. Its common names include Sugar Chestnut, Sweet Chestnut, Red Chestnut, Black Chestnut and Silver Maple.
The genus Dalbergia contains approximately 400 species. They are native to Eurasia, Africa and North America.
Most of them grow in tropical regions where they have adapted to high temperatures and humid conditions. Some species are found only in the northern hemisphere, while others occur throughout the world.
There are many varieties of dalbergia trees, some with large leaves and others with small ones. There are also different types of bark colors.
The most characteristic feature of all these species is their ability to produce edible fruits. However, not all species are considered good sources of nutrition.
The root system of the tree consists mainly of woody roots that grow underground in soil and often in damp places such as under stones or in wet soils. Their leaves are shaped like ovals and have the color of green in most species, however there are some that have deciduous leaves.
Sissoo trees usually reach a height of about 3 meters (10 feet), but some can grow up to 10 meters (30 feet). These trees have long, deciduous leaves (These fall off at the beginning of winter), small flowers and round berries that are either red or yellow.
The fruit is fleshy and edible. It contains several seeds that are also edible when cooked.
Habitat and Distribution
The dalbergia sissoo grows in tropical regions in Asia, mainly in the Eastern Himalayas, but it can also be found in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and southern Tibet. It prefers hilly areas at an altitude of about 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) above sea level.
The dalbergia sissoo is very common in this area. It grows in wet, mountainous areas and is often found along rivers and streams.
These trees grow at a very fast rate mainly because their wood is very durable and resistant to insects. This is the main reason why this wood can be found in furniture all over the world.
The deep roots of the sissoo prevent soil erosion, hence they provide protection against mudslides. The bark is also used in the tanning of leather and as a source of tannin.
The species was declared the national tree of India in 1972.
The dalbergia sissoo is very easy to cultivate because it can grow in almost any type of soil, as long as it is well drained and not too acidic. This makes it a very popular species for reforestation projects.
The tree prefers full sun and moderate rainfall. It must, however, be protected from strong cold winds.
The sissoo is in great demand for its wood, which is very durable and resistant to insects and fungi. It is commonly used in the manufacture of furniture and musical instruments.
These trees have many uses: they are a good source of tannin, which is used in leather processing. The wood is often used for railroad ties and the bark is used to produce an ingredient that helps to tan leather.
The seeds are edible, but they are not very nutritious.
The fruit of the tree is sometimes dried and ground into a powder that is used as a brown dye. The leaves can be used as a wrapping material for food or other items.
The sissoo also has some medicinal uses. The bark and leaves are often used as an astringent in treating wounds and injuries.
It is also used to treat diarrhea and dysentery. It can be used as a sedative or to induce sleep.
The wood of the tree is very hard and durable, hence it is often used in the manufacture of furniture and musical instruments such as violins. Other items such as tool handles, baseball bats and other sporting goods are also made from this strong, hard wood.
The dalbergia sissoo is also good for reforestation projects because it can grow very well under a wide range of conditions. It can grow in a variety of soils as long as they are well-drained and not too acidic.
It also prefers full sun and prefers moderate rainfall.
Some varieties of this tree can tolerate more tropical conditions. This makes them ideal for projects that re-vegetate desert areas.
The tree should not be cultivated in areas with strong cold winds or frost. It is susceptible to insect and fungal diseases, so it needs to be treated with care to grow well.
The seeds of this tree are edible but are not very nutritious. They can be eaten like nuts.
The fruit of this tree is sometimes dried and ground into a powder that is used as a brown dye. The leaves can be used as wrapping material for food or other items.
Sources & references used in this article:
Medicinal importance and association of pathological constraints with Dalbergia sissoo by MH Shah, I Mukhtar, SN Khan – Pak J Phytopathol, 2010 – pjp.pakps.com
The formation of growth rings in Indian trees. Part II:(a) Champ (Michelia champaca),(b) Kokko (Albizzia lebbek),(c) Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo),(d) Toon (Cedrela toona) … by KA Chowdhury – Indian Forest Records (Utilization), 1940 – cabdirect.org
Seasonal activity of cambium in some tropical trees. I. Dalbergia sissoo. by GS Paliwal, N Prasad – Phytomorphology, 1970 – cabdirect.org
16S rDNA Sequence Analysis of Bacterial Isolates from Die‐back Affected Sissoo Trees (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.) in Bangladesh by H Tantau, MI Hoque, RH Sarker… – Journal of …, 2005 – Wiley Online Library
Biomass accumulation and carbon sequestration in Dalbergia sissoo Roxb by P Bohre, OP Chaubey, PK Singhal – … Journal of Bio-Science and Bio …, 2012 – gvpress.com
A monograph on Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. by DN Tewari – 1994 – cabdirect.org
Extent of shisham (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.) decline in Sialkot, Gujranwala, Lahore and Sargodha districts by R Bajwa, A Javaid, MBM Shah – Mycopath, 2003 – researchgate.net
Causal agents responsible for the die-back of Dalbergia sissoo in Nepal’s eastern Tarai by AV Parajuli, B Bhatta, MK Adhikari, J Tuladhar… – Banko Janakari, 1999 – nepjol.info