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Sandalwood UPSC NOTE

 Why in news

  • Sandalwood hardly needs an introduction to the readers of The Hindu

  • It has been valued for many centuries, for its fragrant oil, its prized wood, and the many medicinal uses it has been put to. 

  • The tree that all this comes from, however, is not all that familiar

  • Growing in deciduous forests, it is a partial, or hemiparasite that needs four or five other trees growing around it. 

  • Under the ground, sandalwood roots form a haustorium that forms an octopus-like hold on the host tree’s roots, from where water and nutrients are taken.

Sandalwood – basic details

  • Sandalwood is a class of aromatic woods from trees in the genus Santalum

  • These are medium-sized hemiparasitic trees, which means they partially derive nutrients from the roots of other plants. 

  • Sandalwood trees are found in South Asia and Southeast Asia, with India, Indonesia and Australia being the major producers of sandalwood today.

  • Appearance: The heartwood, which is the most prized part of the tree, is yellow and fine-grained. The sapwood is paler.

  • Fragrance: Sandalwood has a distinctive, sweet, woody fragrance that lasts for decades

  • This fragrance is due to the presence of essential oils, particularly alpha-santalol.

  • Uses: Sandalwood has been used for centuries in various cultures for religious purposes, fragrances, woodcarvings, and traditional medicine. 

  • Sandalwood oil is a popular ingredient in perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, and aromatherapy.

Its Fruit – relation with birds

  • Sandalwood trees do produce fruit, but their relationship with birds is a bit more complex than some other trees.

  • Sandalwood Fruit: The fruit of the sandalwood tree is a small, fleshy drupe that ripens to a dark purple or black color. 

  • Each fruit contains a single seed. 

  • Bird Relationship: While birds are not necessarily the primary seed dispersers for sandalwood, some species do play a role

  • The fruit is small enough to be swallowed whole by certain birds, such as Koels, Common Mynas, and Brown-headed Barbets. 

  • These birds then disperse the seeds in their droppings, sometimes depositing them far away from the parent tree

  • This can be beneficial for the sandalwood tree as it helps to reduce competition between seedlings and the parent tree.

  • However, it's important to note that sandalwood seeds have a hard endocarp (inner fruit wall) that can be difficult for birds to digest.

  • This may limit the effectiveness of seed dispersal by birds and contribute to the slow natural regeneration of sandalwood trees.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Sandalwood UPSC NOTE
Sandalwood UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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