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Red Sanders

Red Sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus)

Red Sanders or Lal chandan is a moderate-sized deciduous tree with clear trunk and dense rounded crown which belongs to the family, Pterocarpaceae. The Pterocarpus species are distributed in peninsular India and Sri Lanka. It occurs gregariously in patches in tropical dry deciduous forests, towards south eastern Ghats.

It attains a height of 10 m and a girth of 0.9–1.5 m under favourable growing conditions. The blackish-brown bark is fissured and resembles crocodile skin.

The inner bark, when injured or cut, oozes red coloured ‘santolin’ dye.

The wood is extremely hard and dark red in colour. Wood can be used for the perfume industry. The heartwood of red sander can also be used as medicinal purposes. Its decoction is given in chronic dysentery.

It is also useful in vitiated conditions of pitta, burning sensation, vomiting, skin diseases, leprosy, ulcers, fistula, and haemorrhages.

The quality wood is considered among the finest luxury woods in the world and highly useful for making high-value musical instruments, cabinets, ornamental veneers, toys, and dolls.

The red color of the wood is used as a natural dye in pharmaceutical, paper, pulp, textile, tannery, and food industries.

Tissue Culture Technology

Red sanders is conventionally propagated through vegetative methods and seed. Propagation through seed is often very difficult because of a hard seed coat coupled with poor viability.

Conventional vegetative propagation methods like semi hardwood cuttings, cleft grafting, and air layering were not successful in producing sufficient numbers of planting material for forestry programs.

Tissue culture Technology has proved to be a promising technique for conservation and large-scale multiplication of several woody species.

Climate and soil : Well-drained red soils with graveled loam are suitable for the cultivation of lalchandan species. It regenerates well in dry hot climate and requires rainfall ranging from 800 mm to 1000 mm annually for good growth.

Spacing & Plant Population : Pits should be dugged with a spacing of 12’X12’. This is optimum for better plant population and yield. Plant population of at least 300 plants per Acre to be maintained.

Season : The best time for planting the crop in the field is end of May to June, that is, onset of rainy season.

Land preparation and fertilizer application :

  • The land is ploughed and harrowed repeatedly and soil is brought to a fine tilth.
  • Digging pit size of 2’X2’X2’ filled with topsoil mixed thoroughly with 10–15 kg FYM (farm yard manure) and 10 g lindane dust to protect the planting stock from soil-borne fungi.
  • Placing the healthy plantlet of sander in the center by digging the small pit ensured that all the root systems are placed properly in the pit so that the tender roots will establish quickly.
  • Planting the host plant in the pit 6” apart from the sander plant.
  • Weeding, cleaning, pruning and irrigation should be done upto3 year old plantation

Crop maturity and harvesting :

  • The fruits require almost 11 months to mature.
  • Twenty- to twenty-five-year-old trees are used for the extraction of bark and wood.
  • The bark may be extracted selectively by strip technique and the tree may be allowed to stand.
  • The tree has to be felled for extraction of wood.

Chemical constituents in Red Sanders wood : Bark, heartwood, and sapwood contain santalin A and B, isopterocarpolone, pterrocarptriol, isipterocarpene, pterocarpdiolone, pterocarpol, acyl olealonic aldehyde, and acetyloleanolic acid.

Yield :

  • Pod yield from 15-year-old trees is 30 tonnes per hectare.
  • Heartwood yield per tree after felling is 250 kg.
  • Thus, 150 tonnes per hectare of heartwood is expected after 15–20 years.

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