|Botanical Name||Pongamia pinnata|
|Species||:||Karanja- Pongamia pinnata (Milletia Pinnata)|
|Other Names||:||Indian Beech- Karanja- Pongamia pinnata (Milletia Pinnata)|
|Hindi Names||:||Karanja, Honge, Pongam|
Karanja is a medium sized tree and is normally planted along the highways, roads and canals to stop soil erosion. It is one of the few nitrogen fixing trees to produce seeds containing 30-32% oil. Pongamia grows into a large tree with a 10-metre taproot, creating a huge carbon sinkIt is often planted as an ornamental and shade tree. It is well-adapted to arid zones and has many traditional uses. It is often used for landscaping purposes as a windbreak or for shade due to the large canopy and showy fragrant flowers.
The flowers are used by gardeners as compost for plants requiring rich nutrients. The bark can be used to make twine or rope and it also yields a black gum that has historically been used to treat wounds caused by poisonous fish. The wood is said to be beautifully grained but splits easily when sawn thus relegating it to firewood, posts, and tool handles. Oil made from the seeds, known as honge oil, is an important asset of this tree and has been used as lamp oil, in soap making, and as a lubricant for thousands of years.
It acts an an important feedstock for Bio-diesel. In India, pongamia is used in land reclamation, as a soil stabiliser and now majorly as a biodiesel crop.