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shpriparna - Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.

shpriparna :

shpriparna  : Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. shriparna or simsapa consists of dried stem bark of Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. (Fam. Fabaceae); a medium sized, deciduous tree, found in Western Himalayas upto 1220 m altitude, and from Sikkim to upper Assam, and extensively planted throughout the country. 


The tree is planted by the Hindus being viewed by
them as sacred (Watt, 1890)

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Dalbergia
Species: Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.

Allied species:

Classical Categorization
  1. Charaka - Kashaya Skandha 
  2. SUsrutha - Salasaradi, Mushkakadi
  4. Kaiyadeva nighantu - Oshadhi varga
  5. Dhanvantari nighantu - Amradi
  6. Raja nighantu - Prabhadradi
  7. Bhavaprakasha nighantu - Vadadi


Sanskrit: krishna sara, shyama, shimshipa
English: black wood, rose wood , Indian rosewood, East Indian rosewood, dalbergia, Himalaya raintree, Indian dalbergia, penny leaf tree, penny-leaf tree, shisham, sisso, sissoo
Hindi: seesam
Urdu: Sheesham
Telugu: Irugudu, Virugudu, Sissoo
Bengali: shishu
Marathi: Sisu, Shisav
Konkani: सीसो Siso
Oriya: Sisu, Sinsapa
Gujarathi: Siram
Tamil: Irupoolai
Malayalam: irupoola
Kannada: eragundimavu, bindi
Punjabi: Sheesham
Arabic: Dalbergia, Sissoo
Spanish: Sisu
Assamese: শিশু, শিংশপা alt.সিঙ্খপা ,
Japanese: ツルサイカチ属のsissoo Tsurusaikachizoku no sissoo
Chinese: 黄檀 Huáng tán
French: ébénier juane
German: ostindisches Rosenholz
Burma: dalbergia sissoo
Nepal: Sissau, Sisham
Persian: جگ
Sinhalese: bambara wel
Greek: δέντρο sissoo


As per Raja Nighantu
  1. Krushna - black
  2. Shweta - White
  3. Kapila - grey


शिंशपा पिच्छिला श्यामा कृष्णसारा च सा गुरु | 
कपिला सैव मुनिभिर्भस्मगर्भेतिकीर्तिता ||२१|| 
शिंशपा कटुका तिक्ता कषाया शोषहारिणी | 
उष्णवीर्या हरेन्मेदःकुष्ठश्वित्रवमिकृमीन् | 
वस्तिरुग्व्रणदाहास्रबलासान् गर्भपातिनी ||२२|| 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: shriparna, rajatari , shimshipa, vruttapatra, mandala patra, bhasmagarbha, krishna sara, picchila

Vrutta patra , Mandala Patrika - circular leaves

Rasa: Kashaya Katu Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphahara Pittahara Vatahara

Sissoo is also a medicinal tree. In Ayurveda, it is used for treatment of a variety of diseases. The wood and bark of Sissoo have abortifacient, anthelmintic, antipyretic, aphrodisiac, expectorant and refrigerant properties. Even in Africa, this tree is used for treatment of wounds and gonorrhea.


A plant of the tropics and subtropics, it is adapted to a seasonal monsoon climate and a dry season of up to 6 months species. However, for optimal growth more than 1,000 mm of annual rainfall is required and it can succeed in areas with 4,500mm
It is tolerant of some frost, surviving minimum temperatures of -4°c, and can also tolerate temperatures as high as 45°c Prefers a fertile, loam soil and a position in full sun
Succeeds in poor soils 
but growth is retarded on badly drained or stony soils 
Grows best in an acid to neutral soil 
Succeeds in alkaline soils 
Older trees are very drought-resistant and can withstand up to 9 dry months and mean annual rainfall of only 400 mm
The tree is very invasive, showing pioneer characteristics, and can become a serious weed, as has been the case in Australia
Seedlings and saplings have a strong taproot with numerous fibrous lateral roots, some of which may later develop into large superficial roots
Young trees may grow fast; under exceptional conditions, they may reach 3.7 metres in 1 year, as much as 11 metres in 5 years and 15 metres in 10 years, but more usually growth rates are 5 metres in 5 years, 10 metres in 10 years and 17 metres (with a mean bole diameter of 25 cm) in 20 years
Trees are often surrounded by numerous root suckers 
It is a strong light demander and only vigorous trees attain larger sizes in dense stands, suppressing weaker trees


Seed - usually the seeds are not extracted from the pods, but the pods are broken into 1-seeded pieces 
Seeds have no dormancy, and the germination rate may be almost 100% when fresh seed from mature trees is used 
Pre-treatment of seeds is not necessary, but soaking in water for 12 - 24 hours accelerates germination
Germination of fresh seed takes 7 - 21 days 
Shading is recommended during the hottest hours of the day during the germination period
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing
When stored dry or in a cold store, seeds remain viable for up to 1.5 years. Viability is maintained for 4 years in hermetic storage and 1 - 2 years when stored in airtight containers under dry, cool conditions
Root suckers and root and stem cuttings can also be used for propagation.


Trees may start flowering at an early age; in experimental plantations in Tanzania they started to flower 3 years after planting[299
Trees can be coppiced, although it has been observed that coppiced trees lose vigour after 2 - 3 rotations




  1. Narasimhaghrta Rasayana 
  2. ayaskriti
  3. Mahahadira ghrita

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Bark, Heart wood (Kanda Sara), ,


  1. 3-6 g. of the drug in powder form 
  2.  50-100 ml of the drug for decoction

Commercial value:

Shisham 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 India, planted on roadsides, and as a shade tree for tea plantations. 


Shisham is a medium to large deciduous tree, native to India, 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. It is primarily found growing along river banks below 900 m elevation, but can range naturally up to 1300 m. Shisham 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 India, planted on roadsides, and as a shade tree for tea plantations.


Heart wood shows well developed xylem, consisting of usual elements, vessels simple pitted, solitary or 2-3 in groups, arranged in radial rings, a few contain reddishbrown content; parenchyma thick walled and paratracheal; medullary rays 1-3 cells wide; fibres abundant in numbers and present in groups alternating with the bands of xylem parenchyma. 

Mature stem bark consists of 6-25 or more rows of rectangular, thin-walled, radially arranged cork cells, a few outer layers exfoliating; secondary cortex wide consisting of round or oval, thin-walled, parenchymatous cells, a number of groups of sclerenchymatous cells, found scattered throughout secondary cortex, a few cortical cells contain prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate; secondary phloem very wide consisting of usual elements of thin-walled cells and tangential strips of phloem fibres; collapsed, thin-walled, parenchymatous cells present in tangential strips throughout the secondary phloem; most of phloem fibres and parenchyma cells contain prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate; phloem rays short, uni to triseriate, consisting of radially elongated, thin-walled, parenchymatous. cells.

Geographical distribution:

Native to the Indian Sub-continent, Myanmar and possibly also neighbouring countries.
Locations within which Dalbergia sissoo is naturalised include Africa, Australia and southern USA.


This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby

Plant conservation:

Although Sissoo is not evaluated on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is listed on CITES appendix II under the genus-wide restriction on all Dalbergia species—which also includes finished products made of the wood. 

General Use:

In Ayurveda, various parts of Shisam tree are used for treating a variety of diseases. The leaves are used for eye pain, swelling, painful urination, gynaecological disorders etc. Leaves and bark are used as astringent in bleeding disorders. The paste of leaves mixed with sweet oil is used topically in skin excoriation (scrapping, abrading of skin).

Therapeutic Uses:

 Kushta, Svitra, Krimi, Bastiroga , Dusta Vrana, Daha, Kandu, Hikka, shopha, Visarpa, Peenasa 

Systemic Use:

Decoction of leaves is useful in gonorrhoea. Root is astringent. Wood is alterative, useful in leprosy, boils, eruptions and to allay vomiting. 


  1. leaf juice
  2. dried bark powder
  3. leaf paste


the tree is anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive/ reducing sensitivity to painful stimuli property, anti-diabetic, analgesic and antioxidant.


Sissoo tree leaves wood and bark have abortifacient property, which means abortion causing. Therefore it must not be used during pregnancy. The leaves and bark are ant-diabetic in action so they may lower the blood sugar level.

Toxicity studies:

Although Sissoo is usually considered to be less allergenic than other rosewoods in the Dalbergia genus, it has still been reported to cause skin irritation.


Sissoo tree is known by many names such as Sisu, Sheesham, Agaru, Tali etc. It is native to Himalayan foothills in Northern India and is distributed in many countries viz. India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. It is introduced in many other countries of tropics and subtropics and now naturalise in Africa and America. Sissoo is an important timber tree of India. It has nut-brown heartwood which is very hard, heavy, strong and elastic. The wood is used for making doors, window frames, flooring, furniture, boats, cabinets etc. The pulp of wood is also used for making papers.

KEY WORDS: Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.

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