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Saaj also known as terminalia elliptica belongs to a tree species called terminalia. It is a native tree to southern and southeast Asia. Mostly found in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia. It is a well-Known part of dry and moist deciduous forests and can be found at the altitude of 1000m.

Its name differ from place to place like, in Tamilnadu it is known as Marutham, Matti in Kannada, Takkuyan in Burma, Marda in India, Asana in Sri Lanka, and casually “ Crocodile Bark” due to its textured bark pattern.


This tree can grow up to 30 meters with a trunk diameter of 1 meter. The fruit it bears is egg shaped or ovular, which roughly measures up to 3 cm in length, with five wings not extending beyond the fruit apex.

The wood from this tree is crude, rather straight and grained. The color of the wood is dull ans somewhat glossy. It doesn’t have any smell and is tasteless. The bark of this tree can resist fire.

The timber varies in color. It may be light brown with few markings or dark brown or brownish black and figured with darker streaks. The outer layers of the wood is reddish white and sharply differentiated. The heartwood is moderately durable and the sapwood is liable to powder-post beetle attack.

Interesting Fact

Saaj has an extraordinary characteristic:

Some of these species can store water in the dry season. According to the survey held at Bandipur National Park, a proportion of tree stores water and there is a girth dependent increase in the frequency and amount of water storage. But, the researchers have not been able to define the mechanism and ecophysiological significance of this water storage.

Uses of Saaj wood

Saaj is mostly used for building furnitures, Cabinets, Joints, Paneling, Boat Building, Parquets and many more. The leaves of termianlia elliptica are used as food for silk worms. The bark is used as a medicine for diarrhea. The fruit of this tree can be used to make pyrogalloland catechol (a water soluble chemical compound with the formula C6H3(OH)3) that is used to dye and tan leather.

The water store in its trunk is often used as a portable water source in the summer by foresters. It is believed that the water contains curative value for stomachache.