Wood Apple

Limonia acidissima



General Information :

  • wood apple is a large tree with long leaves.
  • Flowers small, numerous, dull-red in color.
  • It has a hard berry fruit and an inner sticky brown pulp.
  • The wood apple fruit is round to oval woody grey in color
  • Seeds embedded in edible pulp.
  • These trees can be grown in any waste lands or back yards.
  • In south India, this fruit has significant religious importance in Ganesh chaturthi.
  • Bael leaves are used as sacred offering to ‘Lord Shiva’.

Distribution :

  • Throughout India.

Habitat : A plant of the drier tropical and subtropical lowlands.

Soil : Prefers a deep, well-drained but moisture-retentive loamy soil in full sun

Altitude :Up to 450m (MSL)

Rainfall :800 - 1200mm

Temperature : 20 - 29°c

Terrain : Grows mostly in lowlands areas.

Tree Characteristics :  
  • Drought resistant.

Habit : Deciduous Tree

Planting Guidelines

Natural Regeneration :


  • Propagated by seed. The species regenerates well in wild conditions.

Artificial Regeneration :

  • Propagated  by seedlings and vegetative propagation.

Seed collection and Storage :

  • The fruits are collected during March – May.
  • The seeds are separated from the fruit and shade dried and stored for 6 month.

Seed Treatment :

  • No pre treatment.

Nursery Technique :

  • Multiplication may also be done by root cuttings, air-layers, or by budding is adopted for commercial cultivation.

Plantation technique :

  • Budded plants – Spacing:  8 mx 8 m.
  • Seedling propagation : Spacing : 10 mx 10 m
  • Pits size adopted is 80-90 cm3
  • In India, the season for planting wood apple is from February-March or July-August.

Care & Disease Control :

Irrigation Responds well to irrigation however essential only during the first one or two years so as to ensure better establishment and quicker culm production. Moisture retention through trenches to be practiced.    Thinning/Pruning In early stages wood apple plants should be trained to build solid framework/structure with the help of stakes. As part of training, remove the tip of main stem when the tree is about 1 meter height. It is good practice of training to select only 5 to 6 well-spaced branches of wood apple tree. Normally, there is no need of pruning to be carried out. However, any diseased, dead or sick branches should be pruned off. Pest and Diseases Wood apple being a hardy crop, there is no serious insect pest and diseases as of now. But sooty mould has been noticed in commercial wood apple orchards which can be managed by spraying wettable sulphur + chlorpyriphos / methyl parathion+ gum acacia (0.2+0.1+0.3%).  

Irrigation :

For proper growth and survival it is necessary to give one or two waterings after planting. This is specifically required in arid regions. Irrigation after planting is not a prerequisite in areas having sufficient soil moisture and precipitation. Higher survival rate and better rate of growth is reported when soil and water conservation measures are also adopted.

Recommended Harvest :

  • Budded plants starts bearing fruits after 5 years of planting and
  • Seedling trees start bearing after 8 years.

Yield :

  • In case of Budded plants: 100-160 fruits/tree or 20-21 tonnes/ha at the age of 10 years.
  • In case of Seedling Trees: 200-350 fruits/tree or 25-30 tonnes/ha at the age of 12 years.

Major uses :

  • The fruit contains fruit acids, vitamins and minerals.
  • It is used mainly as a liver tonic to stimulate the digestive system.
  • The fruit is also astringent, especially when unripe, and a cardiac tonic.
  • The pulp of the fruit, especially when unripe, is used in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.

Other uses :

The seeds contain a bland, non-bitter oil that is high in unsaturated fatty acids.The plant has been used as a rootstock for Citrus species because of its water tolerance. The trunk and branches exude a white, transparent gum, especially following the rainy season. It is utilized as a substitute for, or adulterant of gum arabic, and also in making artists' watercolours, ink, dyes and varnish. It consists of 35.5% arabinose and xylose, 42.7% d-galactose, and traces of rhamnose and glucuronic acid. The wood is yellow-grey or whitish, hard, heavy, durable. It is valued for construction, pattern-making, agricultural implements, rollers for mills, carving, rulers, and other products.