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Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), is a erect deciduous tree, native to Haryana and rest of India, Pakistan and Nepal. It is also called Sissoo, Sisu and Indian Rosewood. It is primarily found growing along river banks below 900 m elevation, but can range naturally up to 1300 m. The temperature in its native range averages 10-40 C, but varies from just below freezing to nearly 50. It can withstand average annual rainfall up to 2000 mm and droughts of 3-4 months. Soils range from pure sand and gravel to rich alluvium of river banks; Shisham can grow in slightly saline soils. Seedlings are intolerant of shade.

Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) is best known internationally as a premier timber species of the rosewood genus. However, Shisham is also an important fuel wood, shade, and shelter. With its multiple products, tolerance of light frosts and long dry seasons, this species deserves greater consideration for tree farming, reforestation and agro forestry applications. After teak, it is the most important cultivated timber tree in Haryana and rest of India, planted on roadsides, and as a shade tree for tea plantations.

Timber: Shisham is among the finest cabinet, furniture and veneer timbers. The heartwood is golden to dark brown, and sapwood white to pale brownish white. The heartwood is extremely durable (Specific Gravity = 0.7- 0.8), and is very resistant to dry-wood termites; but the sapwood is readily attacked by fungi and borers. It is used for plywood, agricultural, and musical instruments, skis, carvings, boats, floorings, etc.

Fuel Wood: The calorific value of the sapwood and heartwood of 'excellent' fuel wood is reported to be 4908 kcal/kg and 5181 kcal/kg, respectively. As a fuel wood it is grown on a 10 to 15-year rotation. The tree has excellent coppicing ability, although a loss of vigor after two or three rotations has been reported. Shisham wood makes excellent charcoal for heating and cooking.

Botany: Shisham, Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. (Leguminosae, subfamily Papilionoideae) is a medium to large deciduous tree with a light crown which reproduces by seeds and suckers. It can grow up to a maximum of 25 m in height and 2 to 3 m in diameter, but is usually smaller. Trunks are often crooked when grown in the open. Leaves are leathery, alternate, pinnately compound and about 15 cm long. Flowers are whitish to pink, fragrant, nearly sessile, up to 1.5 cm long and in dense clusters 5-10 cm in length. Pods are oblong, flat, thin, strap-like  4-8 cm long, 1 cm wide, and light brown. They contain 1-5 flat bean-shaped seeds 8-10 mm long. They have a long taproot and numerous surface roots which produce suckers. Young shoots are downy and drooping; established stems with light brown to dark gray bark to 2.5 cm thick, shed in narrow strips; large upper branches support a spreading crown.

Propagation: It takes place most commonly by root suckers and also by seeds. The seeds remain viable for only a few months. Seeds should be soaked in water for 48 hours before sowing, and 60-80% germination can be expected in 1-3 weeks. Seedlings partial sun or full sun.

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