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Bael

Contributor: K.K. Misra

Copyright 1999. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributors.


  1. Common and Regional Names
  2. Scientific Names
  3. Uses
  4. Origin
  5. Crop Status
    1. Toxicities
    2. Traditional Medicinal Uses
  6. Botany
    1. Taxonomy
    2. Morphology and Floral Biology
    3. Secondary Metabolites
  7. Crop Culture (Horticulture)
    1. Ecology
    2. Soil
    3. Training and Pruning
    4. Nutrition
    5. Pests and Diseases
    6. Harvesting and Yield
    7. Cultivars
  8. Selected Experts
  9. Key References

Common Names

English: Wood apple, Bengal Quince
Hindi: Bael, Sirphal

Scientific Names

Species: Aegle marmelos Correa
Family: Rutaceae

Uses

Various parts of the tree are used for its curative, pesticidal and nutritive properties. Fresh half ripe Bael fruit is mildly astringent and used to cure dysentery, diarrhoea, hepatitis, tuberculosis, dyspepsia and good for heart and brain. Roots have antidiarrhoetic, antidote to snake venom, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. The Bael fruit is one of the most nutritious fruits, rich in riboflavin and used for the preparation of a number of products like candy, squash, toffee, slab, pulp powder and nectar. The leaves and seed oil have pesticidal properties.

Origin

Woody tree, native to India. Now naturalized in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and most of southeastern Asian countries.

Crop Status

A perennial woody tree grown in kitchen gardens, boundary plantation around mango orchards and in forest plantations in most of the states of India.

Toxicities

Not reported.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

It is used as a medicine to cure a number of diseases in India. It's medicinal properties have been listed within "Charaka Samhita," an early medical treatise.

Botany

Taxonomy

Aegle belongs to one of the three monotypic genera of orange subfamily Aurantioideae, tribe Clauseneae and subtribe Balsamocitrinae

Morphology and Floral Biology

Aegle marmelos Correa is deciduous, 6–8 meters in height with trifoliate aromatic leaves. The branches sometimes bear long straight spines. The bark is shallowly furrowed and corky. The bisexual flowers are nearly 2 cm wide, borne in clusters, sweet scented and greenish white. The shallow calyx has 5 short sepals and is pubescent on the outside. The 5 petals are oblong ovoid, blunt, thick, pale greenish white and dotted with oil glands. Stamens are numerous, sometimes coherent in bundles. Ovary are oblong ovoid, slightly tapering, axis wide, cells numerous (8–20), small arranged in a circle with numerous ovules in each cell. Fruits are 5–7.5 cm in diameter, globose, oblong pyriform, rind gray or yellow, pulp sweet, thick yellow, orange to brown in color. Seeds are numerous and arranged in the cells surrounded by a slimy transparent mucilage. Seeds have wooly hairs.

Secondary Metabolites

Certain biochemical constituents namely alkaloids, coumarin and steroid have been isolated from different parts of the Bael tree. These are skimmianine, aegelin (C18H18O4), Y-sitosterol (C29H50O), aegelenine (C14H10O2N2), myrlene, p-menth-l-en-3 beta, 5 betadiol, N-2 (4 (3',3' dimethylalloxy) phenyl) ethyl cinnamide, N-hydroxy-2 (4-(3', 3' dimethyallyloxy) phenyl) ethyl cinnamide, N-4 methoxystyryl cinnamide, N-2-hydroxy-2(4 hydro-xyphenyl) ethyl cinnamide, lupeol, sitosterol, alloimperatorin, imperatorin, ß-sitosterol, marmesin (C14H11O4), ß-sitosterol (C29H50O) , Dietammine (C12H9NO2), marmin (C19H26O5), umbelliferone, lupeol, marmelosin (C13H12O3).

Crop Culture (Horticulture)

Bael is usually propagated by seeds. The seeds are recalcitrant and can not be stored for longer periods under normal storage conditions. Budding, patch or shield on seedling rootstocks in June or July gives very good success. Air layering is also successful under humid tropical conditions. In vitro propagation has also been standardized but it is not feasible commercially.

Ecology

Bael has capacity to adapt successfully to a wide range of habitat from arid, semiarid to mesophytic conditions. It can be grown up to an altitude of 1219 meters above mean sea level and is not injured by temperatures as low as -8°C.

Soil

Bael can be grown in any type of soil such as sandy, clay, water logged, unirrigated, acidic or alkaline in the pH range of 5–10.

Training and Pruning

Bael trees may be trained in modified central leader. Pruning is done twice in a year, once in May and other in August. Pruning is limited to the removal of dead and diseased twigs/branches in May while in August healthy leaves are pruned for sale.

Nutrition

The deficiency of nitrogen and zinc is common in Bael orchards and can be corrected by soil application or foliar spray.

Pests and Diseases

More than a dozen insects have been found feeding on Bael. Phyllocnistis citrella, Aonidiella aurantii and Papilio demoleus are the important insects which can be easily controlled by use of insecticides. Bacterial shot hole, fruit canker and gummosis are the serious diseases. Fruit cracking is the physiological disorder in some genotypes of Bael which occurs just before ripening.

Harvesting and Yield

Fruits take about 11 months to ripen. These are harvested with fruit stalk when color changes to yellowish green. A full grown tree produces from 400-1000 fruits depending upon the cultivar.

Cultivars

A number of cultivars have been selected recently and the following are among the best with regards to yield and fruit quality.

NB 5—Fruit size medium, round having smooth surface at maturity, low mucilage, moderately fibrous, soft flesh with excellent taste.

NB 6—Fruit size medium, round with smooth surface, thin rind, few seeds, soft flesh, low mucilage, mild acidic.

Pant Shivani—Mid season cultivar, shape ovoid oblong, size 2 kg, color lemon yellow at ripening, fiber and mucilage content medium, rind medium thick, pulp light yellow with very good taste and pleasant flavor

Pant Aparna—Late cultivar, fruit size small (0.6-0.8 kg), globose, seed, mucilage, fiber and acidity low. Flesh yellow, sweet, tasty and having good flavor rind medium thick.

Key References

Selected Experts

Dr. R.K. Pathak
Technical Coordinator
U.P. Diversified Agriculture Support Project, 41h Floor, PICUP
Bhawan, Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow-226 010 (U.P.) India

Dr. K.K. Misra
Associate Professor
Department of Horticulture
G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology
Pantnagar-263 145 (U.P.) India
Ph. No. 05944-60208

Dr. S.K. Roy
Professor
Division of Fruits and Horticultural Technology, I.A.R.I.
Pusa, New Delhi- 110 0 12 (India)

Dr. B.C. Mazumdar
Reader
University Coll ege of Agriculture
Calcutta University, 35, Ballygunge
Circular Road, Ball ygunge
P.O. Calcutta-700 019 (West Bengal) India


Contributor:
Dr. K.K. Misra, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar-263 145 (U.P.) India

Copyright © 1999. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributors.