Madhuca latifolia

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana

Local names:
English (honey tree,butter tree), Hindi (tittinam,nattiluppai,mowa,moha,mahua,madurgam), Trade name (mahua,butter tree)

Madhuca latifolia is a large, much branched deciduous tree up to 18 m high and 80 cm dbh. Bole short, crown rounded, bark grey to black with vertical cracks, exfoliating in thin scales.

Leaves oblong-shaped, rigid, clustered at the end of branches, 6-9 cm x 13-23 cm, thick and firm, exuding a milky sap when broken. Young leaves pinkish and wooly underneath.

Flowers cream, corollas fleshy, juicy, clustered at the end of branches.

Fruit ovoid, fleshy, greenish, 3-5 cm long, 1-4 seeded.

Seed large, 3-4 cm long, elliptical, flattened on one side.

The specific epithet latifolia is derived from the Latin Lati- (broad) and –folius (leaved).


Mahua is a frost resisting tree of the dry tropics and sub-tropics, common in deciduous forests and dry sal plain forests. The tree is usually found scattered in pastures and cultivated fields in central India. It is extensively cultivated near villages.

Native range

Tree management

Mahua can be planted at a spacing of 3-8 m x 3-8 m and worked on 25-30 year coppice cycle to produce a mean annual increment of 3-5 cu. m/ha. Fire tracing and fencing of plantations are essential in the early stages along with clean weeding and soil working around seedlings. The tree is a light demander, drought resistant and frost hardy. It coppices well if felled in the hot season.

There are about 450 seeds/kg. Seeds are produced plentifully every second or third year. They lose viability within a short period and the oily fruit should be sown directly in the field as the seeds become available.

Mahua is a frost resisting tree of the dry tropics and sub-tropics, common in deciduous forests and dry sal plain forests. The tree is usually found scattered in pastures and cultivated fields in central India. It is extensively cultivated near villages.

M. latifolia is propagated by direct seeding, seedlings or stumps. Seeds should be sown when fresh in long polypots to accommodate the long taproot. Seedlings should be ready to plant in 2-4 months, or can be maintained for longer with regular root pruning. Seedlings are frost tender. 1-year-old stumps establish more successfully than bare root seedlings.

Poison:  Mahua oil is used to treat seeds against pest infestation.

Mahua is planted on wasteland with hard lateritic soils in India.

Erosion control:  Mahua has a large spreading superficial root system that holds soil together.

  The sweet, fleshy corolla is eaten fresh or dried, powdered and cooked with flour. The fruit contains valuable oil that is sometimes used for cooking by the locals. Outer fruit coat is eaten as a vegetable and the fleshy cotyledons are dried and ground into a meal. Ripe fruits are used for fermenting liquor.

Leaves, flowers and fruits are lopped for goats and sheep. Seed cake is also fed to cattle.

Timber:  The heartwood is reddish brown, strong, hard and durable; very heavy (929 kg/cu. m), takes a fine finish. It is used for house construction, naves and felloes of cartwheels, door and window frames.

Shade or shelter:  The wide spreading crown provides shade for animals.

Lipids:  Oil from the fruit kernels principally consists of palmitic and stearic acids and is mainly used for soap and candle making.

Nitrogen fixing:  Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal associations and root colonization have been observed in mahua.

Ornamental:  Mahua is occasionally planted as an avenue tree.

It is planted along the boundaries of fields.

Soil improver:  The seed cake has been used as fertilizer

Intercropping:  M. latifolia can be raised with agricultural crops.