Teak tree is one of the most famous trees in the world that are renowned for the valuable teak wood that they produce. This high-quality hardwood yielding tree is mostly found in the areas with tropical or subtropical climatic conditions. The teak tree is naturally and abundantly found in only a few countries like India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, and Thailand. Although, now teak trees are cultivated in many of the Asian, African, and American countries, for the harvesting of the valuable timber that these trees produce.
In India, the teak tree is known by many names like ‘Sagun tree’ in Hindi, ‘Sagwan tree’ in Marathi, ‘Thekku tree’ in Malayalam, ‘Saguan tree’ in Kannada, ‘Tekkumaram tree’ in Tamil, and ‘Adaviteeku tree’ in Telugu. India is the largest producer of the teak trees and accounts for about 45 percent of the total teak trees in the whole world. Teak tree is found in abundance as it naturally grows in forests of the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh.
Along with the famous uses of the wood of this tree, like furniture, frames, boat building, and other constructional uses, its various parts are used for traditional and medicinal applications. The teak tree has been used by people for many centuries, and it is one of those trees which have a high significance in the lives of the people. The teak tree supports the local people economically and in many other ways. It is the means of livelihood for many residents belonging to the rural areas of the country.
Teak Tree – Tectona Grandis – Description
The teak tree is a tall and large deciduous tree that grows in the average height range of 20 to 35 meters. It is also very strong and has a big trunk with a diameter of about 1.5 to 2 feet at breast height. The teak tree belongs to the family ‘Lamiaceae’ and the genus ‘Tectona’, which has only three species. The scientific name of the teak tree is ‘Tectona Grandis’.
Being a deciduous tree, the teak tree starts to shed its leaves from the month of November to January, and it remains leafless for quite a long period of time of about 3 months, before growing the new leaves again, which start appearing from the month of April. The leaves of the teak tree grow in opposite patterns, they are broadly ovate or elliptic in shape, and they are about 6 to 18 inches long and 3 to 9 inches wide.
The flowers of the teak tree are very small; they are generally only 6 to 8 mm in size. They are white, light purple, or pink in color, they occur in big inflorescences or panicles, and there hundreds of flowers in each panicle. The fruits of the tree are yellow when young and brown as they mature; they start growing in the month of September and ripe from November to January and then gradually fall from the tree.
The germination of the teak tree is often quite poor due to the high degree of dormancy of seeds. As such it is necessary to do the pre-treatment of the seed to break this dormancy. It is done by a few methods; one such method is the alternate wetting and drying of the seeds, in which the seeds are soaked for 12 hours and then dried for the other 12 hours of the day, for 1 to 2 weeks before sowing them.
Benefits and Uses of Teak Tree
1. According to Ayurvedic texts, the teak tree has been traditionally used for curing many ailments. In Ayurveda and traditional Indian medical practices, the teak tree is identified as an acrid, laxative, sedative, and the one with a cooling effect on the body.
2. The flowers of this tree are bitter and acrid in taste, they are small and fragrant and they are used for treating cold and cough, stomach related disorder, diabetes, and liver issues.
3. According to Unani medicinal practices, its wood is of a bitter taste, strong smell. It is used for getting relief from headaches, bile related disorders, and dehydration.
4. The oil extracted from the seeds of the teak tree is very beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases such as itchiness, pigmentation, eczema, irritation, and redness. This oil is also used for hair and also it is believed that it also helps to loosen up the blocked nerves.
5. Its bark of the teak tree is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial in nature. It is also used in treating cold, cough, and fever by many traditional practitioners.
How to Grow Teak Tree – Mass Plantation
The teak trees are in great demand majorly because of the wonderful teak wood that these trees provide. As such many people want to plant these trees in big numbers to reap the profits. It is advisable to buy the viable seedlings from a good nursery if you are planning to plant the teak trees in numbers. It is not a good option to start with the germination process for mass plantation of these trees at the plantation site, because most of the seeds will not survive the harsh conditions.
As such, it is an easier option to obtain the sturdy plants from the nursery where they nurture the seedlings in one place under proper conditions. The plantation process should only be done with the plants that have become sturdy enough to survive the harsh conditions of the plantation site.
The teak tree grows very well in well-drained and deep alluvial soils. They also thrive in moist, warm, and tropical climate. The teak tree can easily withstand the changes in the temperatures, and they can also adapt well in areas with less rainfall. Generally, the teak seedlings are developed in the nursery with the stump method, which has a higher rate of survival in comparison to any other method.
The stumps are the seedlings of which most of the shoots and the side roots have been removed. The stump method has many advantages, the stumps are easier and cheaper to transport, and it is easy to plant them in numbers. They have a good survival rate, which further increases if they are planted before the onset of the rainy season.
Stump planting is the common practice in India, the stumps are easy to grow and they can be planted directly to the well-drained soil. This should be done within the first week of obtaining the stumps. After planting the stumps and watering properly, it will start developing the leaves in a week’s time. And after a period of about two months, it will get around a foot tall.
Teak wood is neither very heavy nor very light, it is very strong and durable, it has straight grains, and a coarse texture. All these qualities make it a great choice for any carpenter of wood worker. This is the reason this wood remains in high demand in the timber market.
The heartwood of the teak tree is dark brown to dark golden yellow in color, while the sapwood of this tree is white or light yellow in color; as such it is clearly distinguishable.