Nonfood Biodiesel Seed Leaflet: MAHUA-Madhuca longifolia

Nonfood Biodiesel Seed Leaflet: MAHUA-Madhuca longifolia

About Mahua

The two major species of genus Madhuca found in India are Madhuca Indica (syn. Bassia latifolia) and Madhuca longifolia (syn.Brassica longifolia). Mahua is the widely accepted as local name for the fat from both these species. M. Latijolia is a deciduous tree while M.Congijolia is ever green or semi ever green tree. Attains height up to 70 ft. The tree matures and starts bearing 8 to 15 years, and fruits up to 60 years. The two species are not differentiated in Trade. The kernels are 70% of seed by weight, are seed contains two kernels, having 2.5 cm x 1.75 cm size oil content in latifolia is 46% and 52% in longifolia. In seeds oil content is +35% and protein in 16%.


BOTANICAL NAME: Madhuca indica

FAMILY: Sapotaceae

Common Names

  • Sanskrit: Madhuka
  • A.P : Ippe, Yappa
  • Gujarat: Mahuda
  • Hindi: Mahua, Mohwa, Mauwa
  • Karnataka: Hippe
  • Kerla: Ponnam, Ilupa
  • Maharashtra: Mahwa, Mohwra
  • Orissa: Mahula, Moha, Madgi
  • Tamil Nadu : Illupei, elupa
  • West Bengal: Mahwa, Maul, Mahula
  • English: Butter tree

A deciduous tree, 10-15m tall and with a spreading, dense, round, shady canopy. Bark is rough, brown in color, slightly cracked and fissured, inner bark red, exudes white, milky sap when cut. Leaves elliptic, 15-25 x 8-15cm, tip pointed, base angled, texture thick, hairy beneath, nerves strong, about 12 pairs, tertiary nerves oblique, and margin entire but may be wavy. Stalk 2-4cm, reddish.

Flowers in bunches at the end of the branches, white, 2cm long, pointed, sweat scented, fleshy. Fruits ovoid, fleshy, 2-4cm across, greenish, 1-4 seeded. Seeds elongate, 2 cm long, brown shining.


The flowering season extends from February to April. The copious fall of succulent, corollas weave a cream colored carpet on the ground. It is rich in sugar (73%) and next to cane molasses constitute the most important raw material for alcohol fermentation. The yield of 95% alcohol is 405 liters from one tonne of dried flowers.


The mature fruit falls on the ground in May and July in the North and August and September in the South. The orange brown ripe fleshy berry is 2.5 to 5 cm long and contains one to four shining seeds. The seeds can be separated from the fruit wall by pressing. Drying and decortications yield 70% kernels on the weight of seeds.


Mahua is a frost resisting tree of the dry tropics and sub-tropics, common in deciduous forests and dry sal plain forests. The tree is usually found scattered in pastures and cultivated fields in central India. It is extensively cultivated near villages. Madhuca latifolia is a medium sized to large deciduous tree, distributed in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.


It performs well in the areas with rainfall between 800-1800 mm.


It is a tree of dry tropical and subtropical climate. The tree grows on a wide variety of soils but prefers sandy soil. It also performs in alluvial soil.

Biophysical limits

Altitude: up to 1 200 m Mean annual temperature: 2-46 deg C Mean annual rainfall: 550-1 500 mm Soil type: M. latifolia grows best in deep loamy or sandy-loam soils with good drainage, it also occurs on shallow bouldery, clayey and calcereous soils.Fruits ripen in May-July. The tree begins to bear fruits at the age of 8- 15 years and continues to do so for about 60 years. The tree shows pronounced periodicity with good seed years once or twice in every three years. 100-200 kg fruit per tree can be produced in cultivated areas

Seed Harvest

Fruits fall on the ground after maturation in the July (monsoon period) and seeds are liberated after decay of fleshy covering. Wild animals disperse the seeds by eating the fruits. The season for seed collection is short and in the absence of organized harvesting, a consid­erable portion of crop is lost. Maximum germination occurs when the seeds are fully mature. Fruits are then yellowish green in color and seeds are brown with 40-41% moisture content. The seeds may be collected after natural seed fall or by vigorous shaking of the branches.

Processing and handling

Seeds are separated from the fruit flesh by rubbing the fruits manually and thorough washing.

Dormancy and pretreatment

Germination percentage is high in fresh seeds (80-1000%). Seeds have no dormancy and do not need any treatment for better germination.

Storage and viability

Viability of Mahua longifolia seeds cannot be main­tained in long-term storage. The freshly mature seeds are desiccation-sensitive (recalcitrant) and germination percentage starts to decline below 35% moisture con­tent. Seeds are also chilling sensitive, damage may occur even at 15°C. High viability can be maintained up to 5 months by storing seeds at 28°C in sealed polythene bags with shedding moisture content of 40-41%. This method maintained about 82% germination percentage from initial 100%. The seeds may be treated by dressing with Bavistin 0.2% (fungicide) before storing.

Sowing and germination

The tree can be raised by direct sowing or planting out nursery-raised seedlings, the former method is pre­ferred as the seedling develop long and delicate taproot that is difficult to handle during pricking or transplant­ing. Germination is hypogeal. In direct sowing seeds are sown in 1.5-2.5 cm depth of soil during June-July in well-prepared lines or patches. Nursery-raised seedlings are pricked out into deep containers (bamboo baskets, earthen pots or polythene bags) one month after ger­mination. It can be successfully raised with agricultural crops like pulses and lucerne with 9m spacing. Regular watering is necessary.

Mahua Agronomy


One of the few trees that may not need deliberate conservation efforts due to its assimilation in cultural identity. In the tribal belt the center of the village is usually adorned with a huge Mahua tree, beneath which all the village meetings are held. Regeneration is plentiful. The tree is rarely cut due to its economic importance and religious taboos threatening wrath of the spirits upon cutting the trees.

The productive plantation of M.Indica needs to be scientifically managed for better growth and production. The growth and yield of the plant could be improved through effective management practices. The enhanced cultivation technology and improved inputs developed by CJP may provide about 4-6000 liters of fuels without displacing food crop and without utilizing prime food land in terms of sustainable farming techniques.

The key factors that can influence the oil yield of M.Indica are:

  • Climate
  • Quality of the soil
  • Germplasm Management
  • Propagation technique /Propagation methods
  • Nursery practices
  • Planting method
  • Tree Management
  • Irrigation
  • Weeding
  • Pruning 
  • Use of fertilizer
  • Crop density
  • High-quality stock from superior Genotype
  • Use of pesticide
  • Inter-cropping
  • Harvesting

CJP carefully manages Madhu Indica cultivation, with advanced crop practices suitable to local soil, weather, pest, and disease conditions to ensure the high amount of oil as we have developed enhanced technology with regards to:-

  • Planting materials & other inputs
  • Crop Management
  • Irrigation Management
  • Fertilizer Management
  • Pest & Diseases management.
  • Harvesting Management
  • Post harvest management
  • And finally grading for further process

The key factors governing profitability of large scale production are:

  • Selection of high yielding varieties with suitable marketable quality.
  • Sowing in a proper season, in compliance with the latest agro techniques.
  • Pest control
  • Adoption of post harvest management.

CJP’s Researchers have developed standardized techniques for growing M.Indica on large scale. CJP ensures Organic M.Indica plantation right from the land preparation, crop management to production of end product. CJP’s Mahua Plantation Technology is available at a affordable price.

Madhuka Indica (Mahua) Crop Information Growing & Care Instruction Manual and Monitoring & management system

The planting, looking after and harvesting plants is an important factor and it requires a lot of knowledge, skill and techniques viz: the best planting season to make the plant mature early, the amount of seed to be planted, irrigation & fertilization method, control method of weeds , investigation of quality, yield, and degree of occurrence of any issues arising .

Keeping in mind various concerns and problems of a new Grower; CJP being “The Centre of Excellence” has designed Madhuka Indica Growing & Care Instructions Manual with Monitoring & Management System Diary on the basis of our own tried, tested, developed and experienced Plant Propagation and Cultivation Technologies and Practices to help you grow a Failsafe Mahua Fuel Farm

The Madhuka Indica Growing & Care Instructions manual provides basic guidance for the project developers to help ensure successful Madhuka Indica planting projects.

Proper planning, planting and maintenance are key for growing flourishing plants. Simply putting a plant in the ground is not enough. Careful thought must be given to the purpose of the planting, location of the planting and how the Madhuka Indica will be cared for once they are in the ground.

A properly planted and maintained plant will grow faster and live longer than one that is incorrectly planted. This booklet is organized as a step-by-step checklist of fundamentals to help you with your Madhuka Indica planting project.

We have sincerely tried to put all steps in nutshell and hope it will be a useful tool in growing your Biodiesel Plantation.

Both the Madhuka Indica publications are available:

Agricultural Extension Kit

CJP has specifically developed and designed a unique kit for Madhuka Indica plantation and crop care for 1 hectare called: “Agricultural Extension Kit” – a key to your fuel farm “just enables & encourages the farmers/ new growers to start the Biodiesel crop cultivation in a right and prefect manner by adopting the concept of “sustainable agriculture”.

Mahua  Agri- Extension Kit contains

  • SRIPHL MIO3 Elite planting stock for cultivation in 1 ha
  • an easy- to- follow growing and crop care instructions manual
  • a very typical monitoring and management diary

An Economic Evaluation of Mahua Plantation

M.Indica: An untapped fuel tree

The M.Indica biodiesel meets all three criteria any environmentally sustainable fuel must meet. These are social, technical and commercial.

About 30-40 percent of the tribal economy in north India such as in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa is dependent on the mahua seeds and flowers. The tree has a potential of enhancing rural income. Being an evergreen variety, it reaches a height of 45-60 feet, and is well adapted to varied weather conditions. With its wide spreading branches and circular crown the tree presents a visually appealing structure. Though the tree starts bearing seeds from the seventh year of planting, commercial harvesting of seeds can be done only from the tenth year

Seed yield ranges from 20-200 kg per tree every year, depending on its growth and development. Being hardy and pest resistant, the tree requires little attention once it has taken root. The variety latifolia is common throughout the Indian sub-continent. As a plantation tree, mahua is an important plant having vital socio-economic value. This species can be planted on roadside, canal banks etc on commercial scale and in social forestry programmes, particularly in tribal areas. The drying and decortification yield 70% kernel on the weight of seed. The kernel of seed contains about 50% oil. The oil yield in an expeller is nearly 34-37. The properties of the MI Oil were found to be within the biodiesel limits of various countries. Hence the MI Oil can be used as a substitute for diesel, for sustainable development of rural areas and as a renewable fuel. The trees will act as sinks for carbon dioxide and, hence, the M.Indica plantation will reduce the amount of this greenhouse gas (GHG) in the atmosphere. The project has many other positive economic, social and environmental impacts: There are income generation opportunities that result from the project like the provision of goods and services to the plantation and its workers.


As the biodiesel industry grows, honing a cost-effective and diverse feedstock supply stands out as a top challenge. There is a need to diversify the sources and methods used to generate biofuel products to achieve food security, energy security and sustainable development and carbon savings. Biodiesel producers are looking for alternative feedstocks which are non- agricultural and non-food crops. And M.Indica has the ability to substitute the requirement of low cost feedstock with the potential for high oil seed production and the added benefit of an ability to grow on marginal land. These properties support the suitability of this plant for large scale vegetable oil production needed for a sustainable biodiesel industry.

Yield is a function of light, water, nutrients and the age of the plant. Good planning, quality planting material, standardized agronomy practices and good crop management may handsomely increase the yields.

M.Indica will yield at Maturity as high as +3 tons oil with proper nutrition, and irrigation. This is truly an exceptional amount of oil from an agricultural crop.

Approximate Yield/hectare
Optimal yield
Seed yield
10  tons
Oil (36% of Yield) ton
3.6 ton
Biodiesel ton
3.6 ton
Plantation cost
US$ 250/ha
Maintance cost
US$100 /ha
Crop cultivation & care cost
US$ 1250/ha
Oil Production
6.0 tons

Under CJP’S Couple Crop Technology oil production to the tune of 6000 kg per ha is obtainable.

For detailed cost benefit ratio obtain MADHUCA INDICA BIODIESEL BUSINESS PLAN:

Customized, Complete & Comprehensive Biodiesel Business Plan

We make the integration of our experience, expertise and professional knowledge with your information and formulate customized biodiesel business plan. In undertaking this Technical & Financial Inputs assessment, we shall have relied on Primary inputs supplied by you, our IPR knowledge & research experiences and expertise in the field; on industry experts and secondary information derived from recognized public sources and via CJP’s database and multi-client reports.

For formulation and creation of customized Madhuca Indica biodiesel business plan for the size of 1000 hectare or more kindly contact to Director Business Development for detailed quote for Madhuca Indica: the 2nd-generation biodiesel crop.

CJP can help clients identify the needs, opportunities and solutions of their local, regional and national markets. By identifying these needs and providing management direction, CJP can help in creating a perfect business plan in order to develop and manage an effective and successful biodiesel facility. The most critical component of any business plan is the pro forma, an educated view or projection of what the performance of a company is capable of, given a specific set of assumptions and conditions. CJP has been involved in identifying these needs for specific projects for a number of years and can help develop a realistic and obtainable:

  • Income Statement
  • Balance Sheet
  • Capital Budget
  • Cash Flow
  • Break-even Analysis
  • Sensitivity Analysis
  • Assumptions Governing the Projections

These projections will be valuable in determining feasibility of the project, securing financing, attracting investment and guiding management so that the company can reach its full potential.

For a detailed quote for a complete and comprehensive Madhuca Indica Biodiesel Business Plan from Farming to fuel, kindly mail to

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