Botanical Name: Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Species: A. fraxinifolius
Common Names: Shingle Tree, Pink Cedar, Acrocarpo, Australian ash, Indian ash, Kenya coffeeshade, Mundani, Red cedar, Shingle tree • Hindi: Mandania, Mandhani, OR Mundani • Manipuri:Mun, Mundani • Marathi:Tokphal • Tamil:malai-k-konrai • Malayalam: Karangan, Kurangadi • Kannada: Hantage, Haulige,Haavulige, Belangi • Kodava:Balanji,Naaruberu • Kodava: Balanji • Bengali: Mundani • Mizo: Nganbawm
Habitat: Acrocarpus fraxinifolius native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. Its also known as Balangi or Kurungatti in India. It grows on Evergreen gallery forest. Montane rain forest and deciduous monsoon forest. Sparse forests at elevations of 1,000 – 1,200 metres in southern China.
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius – Pink Cedar or Shingle Tree, is a large deciduous emergent tree that can reach 60m in the right conditions. Older trees have massive plank buttresses and the stem, light grey and thinly barked, can be over 75% free of branches. Thin horizontal branches. Bi-pinnate leaves with 3-4 compound leaves with 5-6 elliptical, lanceolate leaflets up to 10 cm long and bright red when young. Red-Orange, Pale Green flowers appear on tree when leafless. Fruit is an elongated and flattened pod, long-stipitate, and narrowly winged. Acrocarpus fraxinifolius has very deep roots up to 4.5m. Commonly grown throughout the tropics in plantations for its wood especially in badly degraded areas which are not protected from cattle grazing. It is used as shade trees in the coffee plantations in India. The timber is recommended for making furniture and cabinets/tea boxes. Acrocarpus fraxinifolius has been identified as one of the food plant for the endangered lion tailed macaque during the period of fruit scarcity.
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius grows best in submontane areas in the humid and subhumid tropics with a short, dry spell. It succeeds at elevations from sea level to about 2,000 metres, growing best in areas where the annual precipitation is between 500 – 3,000 mm and the temperature ranges between 15 – 26c. Plants are very sensitive to frost. Prefers a fertile soil and a position in full sun, though it can tolerate a small amount of shade, especially when young. Succeeds in acid and alkaline soils. A pioneer species, it regenerates primarily in small, burnt areas, on open patches where fresh soil has been exposed and along newly constructed roads. Shingle tree is quite fast-growing, able to reach heights of up to 3 metres within 12 months from seed. Growth of older trees is still rapid, as observed in Tanzania where the mean annual increment of 13 year old trees was 120cm in height and 19mm in diameter. In Rwanda the mean height of trees was 150cm after 1 year, 4.4 metres after 2 years, 6.7 metres after 3 years, and 19 metres after 24 years with a bole diameter of 35cm. A deep rooting plant, the roots can penetrate up to 4.5 metres into the soil. It coppices vigorously, the rotation period for fuel is 8 – 10 years and for timber 30 – 40 years. The tree competes with crops if grown in fields. Young plants have been observed to behave as climbers and stranglers of other trees. The tree is a good source of nectar and a good bee forage. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Agroforestry Uses: The tree has an extensive root system and has been recommended for reinforcing riverbanks and stabilizing terraces. A natural pioneer species, it is fast growing and adds atmospheric nitrogen to the soil. It has proved to be very good for the reforestation of open areas. Its leaf fall adds nutrients and humus to the soil and are suitable for mulching. It is ideal as a shade tree on tea and coffee plantations. It is known to have been planted as a windbreak in some areas. Other Uses The wood exudes a gum-like resin when the trees are felled. The sapwood is whitish; the heartwood is bright red to brownish-red with darker veins, making it very decorative. The wood is not very durable and is prone to attack by fungi and insects, but it impregnates well. The grain is straight to slightly interlocked, sometimes wavy; the texture is coarse and even; the is wood is lustrous. It is heavy, moderately hard, and compact. It is easy to work with tools and is well suited for turnery, carving and polishing. The wood is used for interior trim, panelling, furniture and cabinet work. Because it splits easily and regularly, it makes excellent roof shingles. Within its native range it is also used for general construction, floors, stairways, doors, tea crates, beehive frames, and after being impregnated, for railway ties. The wood is sometimes used for firewood in many places.
This has been identified as one of the food plant for the endangered lion tailed macaque during the period of fruit scarcity.
They are used as shade trees in the coffee plantations in India. It is also a best-suited tree for plantations in badly degraded areas which are not protected from cattle grazing. As per the bureau of Indian standards, the timber is recommended for making furniture and cabinets. and tea boxes
It is also used as firewood and for charcoal production. The wood is used to produce pulp for paper, but is rated as second-class for that purpose. Acrocarpus fraxinifolius is widely planted as ornamental tree. The foliage is used as fodder, and the flowers are a source of nectar for honey bees.
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