Sapindlus mukorossi is a large sized deciduous tree belonging to Family Sapindaceae and is commonly called as soap nut or Reetha. The tree attains a height of 20 to 25m with a girth of about 3 to 5 m at breast height in nearly 60 to 80 yr. The main trunk is generally Straight (4 to 5m) and the canopy comprises side branches and the foliage Constitutes an umbrella-like hemispherical top measuring 4 to 6 m in diameter. The bark is shining grey and fairly smooth of young plants, which turns grey when the plant reaches maturity. The leaves are alternate and penpinnate compound, the rachis is nearly 30 to 50 cm long and bears 5 to 10 pair of leaflets. An individual leaflet is 7 to 15 cm long and 2 to 5cm wide. It is acuminate and lanceolate in shape.
* Topology :
Reetha is an important species of tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Indian Continent. It is indigenous to India and China and Willy has grown in the upper reaches of Indo Genetic plains, Shivaliks, and sub-Himalayan tracts beth 200 to 1,500 m above msl. The species flourishes well in deep clayey 100 m soils and does best in areas experiencing nearly 150 to 200 cm of annual rainfall. In its natural habitat, the maximum shade temp. Seldom exceeds 40oc and the minimum temp may drop below 10 oc.
* Phenology :
The leaves turn rich yellow and fall by December end to January. The plant remains leafless until March or April till the new leaves appear. The panicles of white or purplish flowers appear in May and June. The fruits ripen in Nov. and remain on the trees till January. The fruit is one-seeded globes drupe, usually solitary, Sometimes two drupes together, about o. 75 diameter Smooth with fellow fresh, turning light brown and translucent with a wrinkled surface. The seeds are smooth, black, nearly globose, hard, and nearly 6.5″ long. About 750 to 800 seeds weigh.
* Breeding Methodology:
Reetha can be grown through seeds and repetitively through stem cuttings and grafting/budding. The plants raised through seed are not true to type and have a long pre-bearing phase. Hence raising it through regulative means is recommended. The plants raised through stem Cuttings do not develop a taproot, thus their survival in the field is less. The alternate method of grafting budding is best.
* Cultivation practices :
Seed should be sown in the nursery during March. Owing to hard Seed Coot, germination is very slow and low which can be hastened and improved by preshowing treatment of seeds in fresh cow dung for thirty days, which gives 60 to 65 percent germination. Sowing should be done in polybags filled with soil, sand, and FYM or in nursery beds. The seed should be sown 5 cm deep in lines spaced 20cm apart. Regular irrigation and weeding are required. For rising true-to-type precocious plants, chip budding in the month of March should be done on plants raised through seed when the plants attain a diameter of about 1 cm nearly 75 percent. Success can be attained by this method. The unsuccessful budded plants should be budded again during the following June. March budded plants are ready for field planting in the ensuing rainy season. Seed should be collected from middle-aged healthy trees in December.
Post-harvest management :
Being a hair tonic with high-quality washing properties, it is the main constituent of different brands or herbal shampoos available in the market. The kernels contain fatty oil up to 40 to 45 percent by weight fruits fetch a good Market price between Rs. 20 to 40 kg up to two quintals of fruits can be harvested from a full-grown good genotype. The wood is utilized for modest rural building Construction and agricultural implements.
Dr. Yogesh Y. Sumthane, Ph. D. (F.P.U.) M.B.A., D.M. & F. HOD, Bamboo Research & Training Centre, Chandrapur
Kishor Sasane, Latur Website Admin: https://www.agrimoderntech.in
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