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About the Plant
Derris Indica is an important no edible oilseed tree that grows in grow in a wide range of conditions including semiarid regions. The leaves are a good source of green manure and being leguminous, they enrich the soil with nitrogen. The seeds contain around 3040% of oil, which has been identified as a source of bio-fuel and has medicinal value.
Distribution and Habitat

The natural distribution of Derris indica is along coasts and river banks in India and Myanmar. Native to the Asian subcontinent, this species has been introduced to humid tropical lowlands in the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, the Seychelles, the United States and Indonesia. It has also been naturalized in parts of eastern Africa, northern Australia and Florida.

DI has a varied habitat distribution and can grow in a wide range of conditions. Typically it is found in coastal areas, along limestone and rock coral outcrops, along the edges of mangrove forests, tidal streams and rivers. It is hardy and can survive in temperatures from 5 to 50 C and altitudes from 0 to 1200 m. Due to its deep roots it also has a tolerance for drought and is found in areas with rainfall from 200 to 2500 mm a year. It grows well in both full sun and partial shade and can grow in most soil types. Mature trees can withstand water logging and slight frost.

Scientific name: Derris indica
(Syn. Pongamia pinnata; P. glabra)
Family: Leguminosae
USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11
Origin: native to India
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range
Height: 35 to 40 feet
Spread: 30 to 40 feet

Botanical Features
  • Fast growing, medium sized evergreen tree .The trunk is generally short with thick branches spreading into a dense hemispherical crown of dark green leaves.
  • Height: 710 m, stem diameter: 50 - 80 cm
  • Smooth grey-brown bark with vertical fissuring.
  • leaves compound, pinnate and alternate
  • Mature leaves glossy dark green above, pale below
  • New leaves pinkish-red
  • Inflorescence of axillary racemes, shorter than leaves, about 20 cm long.
  • Flowers, borne on racemes, are pink, light purple, or white. Flowers one cm across, zygomorphic, style incurved. Derris indica starts flowering from the 4th or 5th year of planting. White and purplish flowers in axillary recemes appear in April to July.
  • The taproot is thick and long; lateral roots are numerous and well developed.
  • Out of the two ovules in the ovary, invariably only one will develop into seed. After fertilization the early fertilized ovule supresses the subordinate one by the strong sink activity. The abortion of embryo is due to manifestation of sibling rivalry.
  • Pods are 3-6 cm long and 2-3 cm wide broad, pointed at both ends, yellowish grey when ripe, 1 or 2 seeded.The pods ripen from February to May in the following year.
  • Seeds are 10-20 cm long, oblong, and light brown in color. Ecological
Ecological Requirements

Widely occurs and commonly planted species because of its wide adaptability. It grows best in fairly moist situations on porous and well drained soil; thriving even on pure sand and black cotton soil.

Derris indica grows almost anywhere, even on gravelly, sandy and saline soils. It can thrive on the poorest stony soil. It can grow even in the crevices of rocks.

Regarding climate, Derris indica is found in humid and subtropical environments and also found in the tropics and arid zones and likes heat, although it does well even in lower temperatures and can withstand a light frost. It is also a drought resistant plants water requirement is extremely low
Biophysical limits

Altitude: 0-1200 m, Mean annual temperature: 27 to 38 deg. C, Mean annual rainfall: 200-2500 mm or more.

Derris indica can grow on most soil types ranging from stony to sandy to clay, including Verticals. It does not do well on dry sands. It is highly tolerant of salinity. It is common along waterways or seashores, with its roots in fresh or salt water. Highest growth rates are observed on well drained soils with assured moisture. Natural reproduction is profuse by seed and common by root suckers.
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