Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Bael Tree, Golden Apple, Bengal Quince.

+ Tree Species

Aegle marmelos

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Bengal Quince is native to India. The plant can be grown in tropical and sub-tropic areas, being tolerant of harsh conditions, including extremes of temperature. It does best on rich, well-drained soils, but can tolerate poor soils and alkaline conditions. It also grows well in swampy, alkaline or stony soils having pH range from 5 to 8. It has gained the reputation of thriving where other fruit trees cannot survive and plants are very drought tolerant. In Kampala, this tree can be found at Upper Mawanda village.

+ Description

A mid-sized & spinous, deciduous, aromatic, armed, gum-bearing tree that grows up to 18 meters tall and bears long thorns.

BARK: pale brown or grayish, smooth or finely fissured and flaking, armed with long straight spines, 1.2-2.5 cm singly or in pairs, often with slimy sap oozing out from cut parts.

LEAVES: alternate, pale green, trifoliate; terminal leaflets, 5.7 cm long, 2.8 cm broad, having a long petiole; two lateral leaflets, almost sessile, 4.1cm long, 2.2 cm wide, ovate to lanceolate having reticulate pinnate venation petiole.

FLOWER: greenish white, sweetly scented bisexual, actinomorphic, ebracteate, hypogynous, and stalked; 5 petals, imbricate, leathery, pale yellow from above and green from beneath, length 4mm.

FRUIT: globular or ovoid in shape, colour yellowish brown, outside surface hard and nearly smooth. It has a faint aromatic odour and mucilaginous taste. The seeds are numerous, embedded in the pulp, oblong, compressed, white, having cotton-like hairs on the outer surface.

+ Uses

Edible: fruits, young leaves and shoots, flowers. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Aegle+marmelos

Medicine: fruits, leaves, twigs and roots. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Aegle+marmelos

Agroforestry: The plant has sometimes been used as a hedge - the spiny branches serving to make an effective barrier.

The stems are used as chewsticks.

The rind of the unripe fruit is employed in tanning and also yields a yellow dye for calico and silk fabrics.

The limonene-rich oil has been distilled from the rind for scenting hair oil.

A pungent essential oil obtained from the fruit rind is used in making perfumes and soap.

A leaf extract from the plant has been found to have insecticidal activity against the brown plant hopper, an important pest of rice plant in Asia.

The shells of the dried fruits with the pulp removed are used as cups and small containers. They have been fashioned into ornamental pill- and snuff boxes, sometimes decorated with gold and silver.

The mucilage, or gum, around unripe seeds is used as adhesive and household glue and is employed as an adhesive by jewellers.

The gum around the seeds is sometimes resorted to as a soap-substitute. The fruit pulp has detergent action and has been used for washing clothes.

The grey-white wood is often utilized for carving and making small objects such as small-scale turnery, tool and knife handles, pestles and combs. When larger sizes are available it has been used for carts and construction, though it is inclined to warp and crack during curing.

The wood can be used for fuel.

+ Propagation

Seeds, root suckers, budding onto seedling stocks.

+ Management

Slow growing, coppicing.

+ Remarks

Considered a sacred tree in the Hindu culture, the leaves are indispensable offerings to Lord Shiva. The tree is commonly grown in the grounds of temples in countries such as India and Thailand, where the fruit is used to make a very refreshing drink for the monks.

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