From the southern Himalayas to Andhra Pradesh in India and eastwards to Thailand.
Annual rainfall: 500–2000mm.
Normal temp range: -1–39°C.
Altitude range: Up to 1500m.
Seasonal adaptability: Dry season up to 3–4 months.
Soils: Sandy, gravelly alluvium, loamy and sandy clay soils. Can grow on poor shallow calcareous soils. Does poorly on clay or poorly drained soils.
Light requirement: Strong light demander.
Other site limitations: Seedlings are intolerant of frost.
Height at maturity: 20m.
Diameter at breast height (1.3m) at maturity: up to 60cm.
Form: Poor, short stem and spreading crown.
Coppicing ability: Good in full light at young age.
Growth: On a good site about 1m in height and 1cm in diameter per year for the first 10 years, then slows considerably.
Other: A small or medium-sized deciduaos thorny tree, with peeling dark grey bark. Flower clusters white to pale yellow, 5–10cm long, in leaf axils. Leaves bipinnate 15–20 cm long at the base of each leaf.
Ready market for products in certain areas.
Slow growth, poor stem quality.
Wood products: Main products are cutch, used for tanning and dyeing, and katha, which is chewed with betel nut. These are extracted from the heartwood by boiling. The strong durable timber is used for house posts, tools, wheels etc, fuelwood and charcoal, hardwood. Yield 1–5m3/ha/year. Yield of heartwood 50–75m3 at 60 years, yielding 4–6 tonnes of cutch. Wood density 0.8–1.2.
Fodder: Leaves (13–19% protein).
Other: Medicinal use for the bark to treat diarrhea, dysentry and wounds, the seeds for antibacterial action. The tree is also a host for lac cultivation.
From seed or cuttings. Seedlings are grown in a nursery, transferred to bags and planted out when 30–50cm tall. Direct seeding possible in moist areas.
Collect pods as soon as ripe and extract seeds when dry. Viability 6–8 months. Pretreatment: immerse in boiling water, allow to cool for 24 hours, or soak in concentrated sulphuric acid for 20–30 minutes.
Young trees require weeding and protectioni from fire and grazing. Plant 3–6 months old seedlings at 2x4 or 4x6m spacing. Trees with girth of 60–120 cm are suitable for harvesting.
Intercropping, field margins, trees on farms.