Caesalpinia sappan L.: Comprehensive Review on Seed Source Variation and Storability  

N. Mariappan , S. Krishnakumar , S. Ramesh Kumar , K. Krishna Surendar
Vanavarayar Institute of Agriculture, Manakkadavu, Pollachi -642103, India
Author    Correspondence author
Plant Gene and Trait, 2014, Vol. 5, No. 2   doi: 10.5376/pgt.2014.05.0002
Received: 03 Sep., 2013    Accepted: 06 Dec., 2013    Published: 04 Jan., 2014
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Mariappan, 2014, Caesalpinia sappan L: Comprehensive Review on Seed Source Variation and Storability, Plant Gene and Trait, Vol.5, No.2 11-21 (doi: 10.5376/pgt.2014.05.0002)


Caesalpinia sappan is widely used in traditional medicine and chemical investigation resulted in the isolation of novel and interesting phytochemicals possessing potent biological properties. The most successful tree improvement programme is that where proper seed sources were used. The loss from using the wrong sources can be great and even disastrous. Caesalpinia sappan is commonly propagated through seeds. The present review discusses the seed source variation and increase the seed longevity in suitable storage techniques. The wood Caesalpinia sappan has already proved export quality of natural dye and it has the potential to become a drug to enter into the world market due to its interesting biological effects and vast folklore uses is worth that might provide a rich natural resources. In future, more basic research is needed to elucidate the mechanism to appraise the better seed source variations and seed storage behaviuor and techniques in Caesalpinia sappan.

Caesalpinia sappan L.; Seed source; Variation; Storage

The blooming demands for natural food colouring products as well as the expansion of green cover could only be achieved by introducing dye yielding trees in plantation forestry (Buchanan, 1999). Caesalpinia sappan is one of the versatile natural dye yielding trees that can be grown on a large scale in tropical areas (Chennagowda et al., 2001). Cultivation of Caesalpinia sappan serves three purposes viz., to enable the country to march towards meeting the natural dye demands, greening of environment and sequestering atmospheric carbon a popular logo of the global concern at present (Holmgren et al., 2003). It is an important dye plant attaining economic importance in recent years (Kurain & Sankar, 2007). The important part of this plant is the heart wood that contains water soluble dyes such as brazilein, protosappanins, sappan chalcone and haematoxylin. In recent times the dye is used for natural colouring of food products, beverages, and pharmaceuticals (Senthilkumar et al., 2011).

The economical part of the plant is obtained by extraction of heart wood. Sappan yields different shades of red with or without mordant (Siva, 2007). The yield of sappan heartwood dye has been reported as up to 20% of the heart wood on a moisture free basis (Jansen, 2005). The heart wood is often first reduced to a powder moistened and is then allowed to ferment, there by encouraging oxidation of the brazilein and the other natural pigments. The aqueous extract is concentrated prior to use as a dye. Brazilian on oxidation yield a red dye called brazilein- the most valuable dye used in colouring leather, silk, cotton, wool and fibres of different kinds, calico printing, batik, food products, pharmaceuticals and wines (Roecklein and Leung, 1987). More commonly this natural dye has been used in mat industries in some parts of Tamil Nadu, India, where the fibers obtained from sedges, korai) are coloured by sappan dye (Benazir et al., 2010).
The wood is used in carpentry, the timber, which has straight grains, is of great value under the name of pernambuco for making violin bows (Smartt, 1990). The wood is orange red, hard, very heavy, Weight: 1,030 kg m-3, Air dry) straight grained with a fine and even texture. It is suitable for cabinet making, walking sticks and small ornamental turnery articles like dagger sheaths and hilts (Jansen, 2005). The pods contain 40% tannin and can be used in the place of sumac. They impart uniform tan and a soft touch to the leather. The seeds on extraction with petroleum ether yield an orange coloured fixed oil (Shahid and Mohammad, 2013), An infusion of the wood is a powerful astringent and emmenagogue. It is prescribed in atomic diarrhaea and dysentery and its paste in rheumatism, haemorrhages to treat wounds (Khatun and Rahman, 2006).
In spite of these attractive features, the tree species suffers from a drawback i.e., it is low viability. The basic objective/aim of a tree improvement programme are to select a better seed source for propagation (Zobel and Talbert, 1984). Delineation of the best seed sources for individual species in an important milestone in establishing a successful population of trees. Hence, there arises an urgent need for exploiting the best seed source for propagation potential, (Umarani et al., 1997; Vijayaraghavan, 2000). But the available information on the existing seed sources and its storage techniques is not sufficient.
The longevity of seed in storage is also largely influenced by the genotypes, history of seed taken into storage, moisture content of seed, container in which it is packed and temperature of storage environment (Fairey et al., 1999). Large scale production of good quality seed requires storage for more than one season. If not properly guarded, seed material will rapidly deteriorate and completely loose its viability in short time. The knowledge on storage potential of seeds is essential for effective seed management (Merritt and Dixon, 2011). In Caesalpionia sappan the seed production, collection and storage in perennial tree species is highly influenced by environmental factors and quality seed collected could be used as source material for many a plantation.
2 Botanical Classification
Kingdom: Plantae; Division: Magnoliophyta; Class: Magnoliopsida; Order: Fabales; Family: Fabeaceae; Genus: Caesalpinia; Species: Sappan.
Botanical Name: Caesalpinia sappan Linn.
Synonyms: Biancaea sappan
Common Names:
English: I ndian redwood, Sappan wood, Brazil wood; Hindi: Patamg, Bakam; Sanskrit: Patrangah, Patangah; Kannada: Sappange; Malayalam: Chappannam, Sappannam; Marathi: patang, pathang; Tamil: Sappamgu, Patamgam; Telugu: Bakaruchakka
3 Documented species distribution
Native: Native to Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago, China, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand.
Exotic:Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Province of China, United States of America.
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