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What is the Paradise Tree?

Paradise Tree, Simarouba Glauca (Latin), Oil Tree, Aceituno or Lakshmi Taru (in India*) thrives in tropical climates with very little water (300mm per year). It is ideally suited for plantation on mining wastelands, but is also a decorative and attractive tree, which can be used for boundary and avenue plantations or even simply as a focal point in a private garden. It grows to a full height of up to 15 metres over 6 years and, for that reason, should be given adequate space to thrive (ideally at least 9 sq.m).

 

 

 

5-year-old Paradise Tree at the Morjim Beach Resort

 

 

Medicinal Use

 

Research has shown that the leaves, fruit pulp and seeds of the Paradise Tree have important medicinal properties. These include the ability to treat Amaebiasis Gastritis, ulcers in the alimentary system, Diarrhea, Chickengunya and Malaria. It is also claimed that HIV and even certain types of cancer can be successfully treated with potions made from the leaves.

 

 

Edible Products

 

The tree bears fruit after 5 years and is harvested each April / May. The fruit pulp contains about 11% sugar and can be used in the preparation of jams and beverages, including wine! Maximum pulp yield is approximately 8-10 tonnes per Hectare per year. Each mature tree produces 15-30 kg of seeds per year. The seed kernel contains 65% of high-quality edible oil, which is comparable with Coconut Oil, as it free from bad cholesterol. The oil yield is approximately 1000-2000 kg / Ha / year.

 

 

 

First Fruit Yield from a 5-year-old Paradise Tree

 

 

Biofuels

 

The edible oil produced from the seeds of the Paradise Tree can alternatively be used directly as a fuel in many (generally older) diesel engines, without any modifications to the engine whatsoever. As with any other vegetable oil, there is absolutely no requirement to have the oil converted into bio-diesel by the expensive and toxic process of Transesterification (although this would indeed be a requirement if the fuel was to be made suitable for use in newer type engines). Furthermore, the fruit pulp can also be used to make Bio-Ethanol (800-1000 litres / Ha / year). In other words, two different parts of the annual crop can be used to concurrently produce two different types of fuel. It has been said that the Paradise Tree alone has the capability to make India self-sufficient in both edible oil and biofuels.

 

 

Non-Edible Products

 

Derivatives from the non-edible fractions of the oil can be used to manufacture natural pharmaceuticals, surfactants, detergents, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, lubricants, grease, emulsifiers, paints, varnishes, candles, etc.

 

 

Timber

 

The main trunk of a 10-year-old tree has 5-10 cubic feet of light-coloured attractively grained wood, suitable for high-quality toys, furniture, doors and windows.

 

 

Manure

 

After extracting the oil from the seed kernels, the resulting press-cake is rich in Nitrogen (7.7-8.1%), Phosphorous (1.07%) and Potash (1.24%) and is therefore an ideal natural fertilizer. It is relished by earthworms and thus can be used in vermicomposting. Leaf-litter can also be added to increase the carbon content of the soil. The maximum yield of press-cake is 1000-2000 kg / Ha / year, whereas the leaf-litter provides a further 10,000-15000 kg / Ha / year of biomass.

 

 

Environmental Benefits

 

The Paradise Tree can happily co-exist with other species such as Cashew and Coconut without causing any detrimental effects. Indeed, the fallen leaves from the Paradise Tree are a natural fertilizer and help to rejuvenate the surrounding soil for the benefit of all species.

For detailed information about the Paradise Tree, please click the following link, or watch the videos below:-

 

Paradise Tree / Lakshmi Taru - University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (.pdf)

 

To see how Goa-Biofuels is involved, please have a look at the following section:-

 

Goa-Biofuels: Paradise Tree Promotion in Goa

 

(*The Paradise Tree was renamed in India as “Lakshmi Taru” by the spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who introduced it into the Rural Development Programme of his “Art Of Living” organisation.)