Sarasa..The Superior

A robust, attractive & adaptable tree that tolerates acidic, alkaline and even eroded soils..Indian Siris (Albizia Lebbek/सरस, शिरीष). It is a fast-growing, deciduous tree having a spreading umbrella-shaped crown of thin foliage. Indian Siris is one of the All-Rounder tree we have..

Indian Siris is used as a folk remedy for many ailments. It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic herbal medicine for the treatment of asthma and allergic disorders. Its leaves, seeds, bark and roots are all used in traditional Indian medicine. The tree has been reported to possess anti-allergic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-microbial, anti-ulcer and even anti-psychotic activities. It has been used successfully in Ayurveda for the treatment of boils, cough, asthma, bronchitis, leprosy, eczema, pruritis, paralysis, abdominal tumors, gum inflammation and worm infestation.

Siris tree is widely used in agro-forestry practises due to its multi-purpose benefits. It is one of the most promising and excellent fodder tree for arid & semi-arid regions. The nitrogen-rich leaves are valuable as mulch and excellent green manure. Due to its extensive root system, it is recommended for eroded lands like river embankments. Good soil-binding ability makes it useful for soil conservation plantings. Its a good tree for reforesting dry, alkaline soils. It is tolerant to drought and can survive even in grass fires.

One of the most interesting aspects of Siris is that, in addition to providing feed directly, it appears to enhance pasture production and quality. The tree is capable of fixing the nitrogen, coppices fairly well and grows moderately fast. Another common use is as an avenue tree and sometimes it is used to shade coffee and tea. Its whitish-cream colored flowers (The flowers should not be confused with that of exotic Rain tree which has similar flowers but pink in colour) are fragrant, attracting bees. Bee keepers like the species for the light-colored honey its nectar provides. Its leaves also serve as the larval food for butterflies.

The bark contains saponins and tannins, used for making soap and in tanning respectively. Its bark yields a reddish-brown gum that is used as a substitute for gum arabic. It is an excellent charcoal species. It is also pollarded to use as a host for the lac insect Kerria Lacca.

Siris tree can be propagated by seeds. Seeds may be sowed without pre-treatment, although soaking the seeds in cool water for 24 hours, increases germination rate. When agitated by the wind, the pods and enclosed seeds are said to produce an incessant rattle like women’s chatter, hence the name Woman’s Tongue. :-)

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