Terminalia bellirica

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Local names:
Burmese (thitsein), English (bedda nut tree,beleric myrobalan,belliric myrobalan), French (myrobalan beleric), Javanese (jaha sapi,jaha kebo), Lao (Sino-Tibetan) (nam kieng dam,haen-ton), Malay (jelawai,mentalun,simar kulihap), Thai (haen-khao,samo-phiph

Terminalia bellirica is a large deciduous tree to 50 m tall and a diameter of 3 m with a rounded crown. The frequently buttressed bole at the base is branchless up to 20 m. The bark is bluish or ashy-grey covered with numerous fine longitudinal cracks, the inner bark yellowish.

Leaves large, glabrous, alternate, broadly elliptic to obovate-elliptical, 4-24 cm x 2-11 cm, base rounded to cuneate, rufous-sericeous but soon glabrescent, with 6-9 pairs of secondary veins. Secondary and tertiary venation prominent on both surfaces, clustered towards the ends of branchlets. Petiole 2.5-9 cm long. 
Young leaves copper-red, soon becoming parrot green, then dark green.

Flowers solitary, small, 3-15 cm long, greenish white, simple, axillary spikes; calyx tube densely sericeous or tomentulose; flowers appear along with new leaves and have a strong honey-like smell.

Fruit sub-globular to broadly ellipsoid, 2-4 x 1.8-2.2 cm, densely velutinous or sericeous, light-yellow, obscurely 5-angled and minutely brown tomentosa.

The generic name ‘Terminalia’ comes from Latin word ‘terminus’ or ‘terminalis’ (ending), and refers to the habit of the leaves being crowded or borne on the tips of the shoots.


It is frequently found in monsoon forests, mixed deciduous forests or dry deciduous dipterocarp forests, associated with teak (Tectona grandis)

Native range
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam

Tree management

The species is a light demander and fairly drought resistant. It coppices well after pollarding especially if planted on a wide spacing. Spacing of 3-4 m apart in pure plantation is common. Good protection from grazing is required.

Seed storage behaviour is recalcitrant. There are about 176-420 seeds/kg.

It is frequently found in monsoon forests, mixed deciduous forests or dry deciduous dipterocarp forests, associated with teak (Tectona grandis)

T. bellirica is usually propagated by direct seeding or nursery-raised container seedlings. Regeneration is plentiful within the natural and artificial stands but is affected by destruction of seeds by insects, birds and animals. Artificial regeneration in India has been achieved by direct sowing and transplanting of nursery-raised stock. Seed is sometimes broadcast to supplement natural regeneration. The root-shoot cuttings or stump planting give good results. Germination occurs within 10-45 days after sowing and the nursery phase is about 3-4 months.

 The kernels of the fruit can be eaten but are somewhat dangerous as they have a narcotic effect.

Fodder. The leaves are highly valued and extensively used as fodder. The farmers lopp side branches, often sparing the main limbs to ensure good growth and future supplies of fodder. The chemical composition improves with the stage of maturity in leaves, which are on the whole considered to be nutritious, palatable and digestible. Leaves contain 9- 14% crude proteins and can be used to rear tussar silkworms (Antherea mylitta).

The tree yields a good-quality firewood and charcoal with calorific value of sapwood being 5000 kcal/kg.

Timber: The wood is whitish, rather soft, with a density of 675-900 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; sapwood and heartwood are not distinct with straight grains. The wood is steeped in water to make it more durable then used for making boxes, furniture and construction.

Dyestuff or tannins: The fruit produces tannins and dyes used for leather tanning, dyeing of clothes, matting and inks

Cosmetic: The kernel produces a non-edible oil used in toilet soap and is good for hair.

Medicine: The fruit rind (pericarp) is astringent, laxative, anthelmintic, pungent, germicidal and antipyretic. It is applied in a diverse range of conditions including cough, tuberculosis, eye diseases, anti-HIV-1, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, dysentery, inflammation of the small intestine, biliousness, flatulence, liver disease, leprosy, cleanse the blood and promote hair growth in the Ayurvedic drug. Fruit extracts have anti-bacterial activity against Micrococcus pyogenes and Escherichia coli.

Ornamental: It is grown as an avenue tree.

Intercropping: It has been grown in taungya plantations along with agricultural crops, which may be grown for 2-3 years between the lines of trees generally 3-4 m apart.