FRUIT MATURATION AND GERMINATION IN FICUS AURICULATA LOUR. A LESSER KNOWN MULTIPURPOSE TREE SPECIES IN KUMAUN HIMALAYAN REGIONJyotsna, Ashish Tewari, Shruti Shah, Krishna Kumar Tamta and Nandan Singh
Globally there are 750 species of Ficus belonging to the family Moraceae. Ficus auriculata Lour locally known as Timul, commonly occurs throughout the hills especially in Chir-Pine dominated forests up to1700 m from the foothills. The study focused on fruit maturity timing and seed germination of F. auriculata. Absence of seedlings and saplings of F. auriculata was a conspicuous feature across all studied sites. Fruit production peaked in the month of June - July, while the male fruit crop peaked 2-3 months before female fruit production. Across all the sites fruit size between first to last collection varied between 246.45Â±3.76 and 2063.21Â±7.38 mmÂ² and seed size ranged between 0.42Â±0.03 and 2.02Â± 0.12 mmÂ². The maximum germination varied between 82.60Â±1.05 and 86.11Â±0.77 % when fruit moisture content was between 36.67 and 40.50 % and seed moisture content was 33.34 and 37.84 %.