Characteristics of Sonosiso Tree (Dalbergia sissoo) in the Wild

Dalbergia sissoo
Sonosiso or North Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) is a fast-growing and strong rosewood tree that is native to the Indian subcontinent and southern Iran. Sonosiso grows as a large tree, and its wood is very valuable.

The timber is the most economically priced and well-known of the genus rosewood which is sold internationally but is also used as firewood and for shade and shade. After teak, it is the most important cultivated timber tree in Bihar, which is the largest producer of Sonosiso wood in India.

In Bihar, Sonosiso trees are planted by the roadside along the canals and as shade trees for tea plantations. It is also commonly grown in southern Indian cities such as Bangalore as a street tree.

The wood is usually dried before it is used in furniture making, a process commonly used by wood industry players to make wood stronger and more durable.

Traditionally, the slender branches of the Sonosiso tree (called datun) were chewed first as a toothbrush and then split as a tongue cleaner. This practice has been used in Pakistan, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries. In India, Sonosiso has been used in the Siddha system of medicine for skin disorders and stomach-related problems. In other parts of the world, Sonosiso twigs are still collected and sold in markets for use in rural areas.

As many as 80% of the rural population of India still start their day cleaning their teeth properly with Dalbergia sissoo, Salvadora persica, or Azadirachta indica.


Characteristics of Sonosiso Leaf

Dalbergia sissoo Leaf
Source: Khare

The leaves are rough, alternate, compound pinnate, and about 15 cm long.


Characteristics of Sonosiso Flower

Dalbergia sissoo Flower
Source: gadave

The flowers are whitish to pink, fragrant, almost sessile, up to 1.5 cm long and appear in dense clusters of 5-10 cm long.


Characteristics of Sonosiso Fruit

Dalbergia sissoo Fruit
Source: S

The fruit is oval, flat, thin, like a rope, 4-8 cm long, 1 cm wide, and light brown. Each fruit contains 1-5 flat, nut-shaped seeds 8-10 mm long.


Characteristics of Sonosiso Tree

Dalbergia sissoo Tree
Source: Valk

Sonosiso trees can grow to a maximum height of 25 meters and trunk diameters of up to 2-3 meters but are usually smaller. The sonosiso tree has long taproots and many surface roots. The stems often bend when planted in the open.

The tree was found to thrive along the riverbanks below an altitude of 1,300 m above sea level. The temperature in its natural habitat averages 10-40 °C but varies from slightly below freezing to nearly 50 °C. The tree can withstand an average annual rainfall of up to 2,000 mm and drought for 3-4 months. It grows best in sandy and gravel soils to alluvium. Sonosiso can also grow in slightly salty soil.

In India, the sonosiso timber trade and use is under government restrictions.


Propagation is most often carried out by planting seeds. Before planting, the seeds should be soaked in water for 48 hours before sowing and a 60% – 80% germination success can be expected in 1-3 weeks. Once the seeds have germinated into seedlings, they need full sun all day long and are shade intolerant.


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