Botany Name: Grewia Asiatica Or Subinaequalis,
Family: Tiliace Phalsa is indigenous to India and is known with different names in East and North India.
Very hardy fruit, hence can be planted on marginal soils, where rest of the fruits can not be grown. Its cultivation is more popular in the vicinity of cities/ towns. Phalsa fruit is liked to its acidic taste, coloured squash and syrup. Origin Phalsa has been mentioned in our Vedic books and is native to India.
- AREA & PRODUCTION
It is minor fruit and is being cultivated on very small scale in each state. However, in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh it is cultivated near cities commercially. In Punjab area under Phalsa is only 30 hectares with annual production of 196 tonnes approximately.
The ripe Phalsa fruits are purple in colour at maturity and may turn black at ripening on the bushes. Phalsa is considered to be antioxidant in nature due to its coloured fruit and juice. Whole fruit is eaten along with the seeds. The mildly acidic fruits are rich in Vitamin A, C and minerals. Fruit contain 55 percent juice with 11-12% TSS and 3% acidity. Ripe fruits are consumed as fresh. Juice and squash is relished in summers. In Unani system of medicines it is recommended to cure various ailments. Phalsa roots are used to cure rheumatism. The shoot can be used to prepare baskets.
Phalsa belongs to genus Grewia. It is deciduous bush in North India. It can be trained both as a bush and single stemmed small tree. In South India it is evergreen. It performs better in areas with district winters. The stem is hard and brittle. The bark has mucilaginous juice, which is used to purifying to sugar or jaggery. Leaves are broad rough and light green in colour, with hairs on both sides. Flowers small, yellow in colour, appear in clusters on peduncles in leaf axis. Flowers appear in April in north India. Fruit ripens in June and is drupe with one or two hard seeds.
- CLIMATE & SOIL
It prefers hot and dry environment during fruiting. In winter it goes dormant and shed its leaves. It resprouts in March. High temperature of June helps in fruit ripening. It is not fastidious to its soil requirement. It can very easily be grown on poor soils. Loam soils are considered best. It makes good growth under scanty irrigation conditions.
No distinct varieties have been developed. Even if plants are raised from seed and flowers are cross pollinated, no varieties have come up. Two types tall and dwarf did not have much difference when planted in the same situation.
Phalsa is commonly propagated through seed. Cuttings are difficult to root due to the presence of mucilage. Some reports say that IBA treated cuttings can root when planted in January. Bold seeds give 90 percent germination during July. Sow seeds on raised beds 2cm deep in lines 10cm apart. Seed to seed distance should be 2cm. Cover the seeds with mixture of sand + F.Y.M 50: 50 ratio. Apply water with sprinkler, immediately after sowing. Avoid flooding of seed beds, failing which root rot fungus Pythium may appear. Apply 1% Bavistin solution after the seed germinate. Apply the solution Dursban 20EC (chlorophyriphos) @ l0ml/L of water after 30days of seed sowing to check the attack of white ants. Seeding become ready for transplanting in January.
Transplant only healthy seedling bare-rooted in the prepared pits in January. Planting is done at 1.0 x 1.5m apart in lines. A month prior to actual planting pits of size 0.5 metre deep and same diameter are prepared. After planting light irrigation is applied to settle the soil around roots.
- TRAINING & PRUNING
Phalsa is usually trained as a bush. It can also be trained on head system with a single stem. The height of the single stem should be kept at 90cm to 1.0m. The plant produce shoots above this height just as in bush system.
In North India, Phalsa is pruned every year during January. When it is trained as a bush the shoots are cut from the ground level by leaving 2- 3cms stubs. From here many sprouts emerge on the stubs Flowering occurs on these shoots in March-April.
Phalsa can tolerate drought conditions fairly well after fruit harvest. For getting high fruit yield it requires irrigation at regular intervals of 20-days during April to June. No irrigation may be applied during rainy season and in dormancy.
Apply 5kg of farm yard manure to each bush after pruning in January. The bushes may be applied 50 to 100 grams of urea in two parts i.e., during March and April depending upon the age. High N dose lead to profuse shoots growth which is not desirable for good fruiting. When the bushes become four years of age increase the dose to 200gm in split dose. Apply l00gm in March and rest l00g, in April at months interval.
- WEED CONTROL
Phalsa requires two hoeing’s. One after pruning in January and second in April-may. If the intensity of weeds increases in rainy season, then spray Gramoxone (paraquat) @ 6-7ml/L. of water in vacant places in plantations which are trained on head system. However, no herbicide needs to be sprayed in bush trained plants. Shade of the foliage keeps a check on the weeds growth.
For uniform ripening of phalsa fruits, apices of shoots may be pinched in mid-May to check further shoot growth. Fruits start ripening in the first week of June and continue for a month. Fruits should be harvested twice a week. Fruits are packed in small baskets of size 2kg or in packs. Phalsa fruit is perishable in nature, hence should be transported to the market soon after harvesting.