Pongamia pinnata, also known as Millettia pinnata or Indian Beech, is a species of flowering tree in the pea family. It is native to Southeast Asia, including India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, but has also been introduced to other parts of the world, such as Australia, for use in agroforestry and as an ornamental plant.
The tree can grow up to 30 meters in height and has a dense, rounded crown. The leaves are pinnate, meaning they are divided into leaflets arranged along a central axis, and are typically dark green in color. The tree produces clusters of small, pale-pink to white flowers, followed by large, woody seed pods that contain several seeds each.
Pongamia pinnata is known for its valuable oil, which is extracted from the seeds. The oil has a high content of long-chain fatty acids, making it useful as a biofuel, lubricant, and ingredient in cosmetic products. In addition, the tree has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its various health benefits, including its antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
The tree is also used in agroforestry due to its ability to fix nitrogen, which can help improve soil fertility and support the growth of other crops. It is also valued for its wood, which is hard and durable, and is used for construction and firewood.
Pongamia pinnata is an important and versatile species with a wide range of uses, from fuel and medicine to agroforestry and ornamental planting. However, its sustainable management and cultivation are important for preserving the species and ensuring its long-term benefits for people and the environment