The Sheesham tree (Indian Rosewood, Shisham or Dalbergia sisso), is deciduous and native to the Indian Subcontinent. In Pakistan and India, the Punjab is the largest producer of Sheesham timber and, after teak, it is the most important cultivated timber in the area. You will often find the tree along canals and roadsides providing welcome, natural shade.
Sheesham’s distinctive irregular grain is considered its best feature and can be beautifully polished to a rich finish. The heartwood varies golden to dark brown and the sapwood can be white to pale brown. It is this variation that provides Sheesham’s unique decorative finish. The timber is great for construction as it handles well and is strong and durable. The wood is also perfect for decorative carving given this strength and density.
Often sold internationally as timber, Sheesham is the best known timber species of the rosewood genus. It may also be used as fuel or for shade and shelter. The Sheesham species deserves greater consideration for tree farming, industrial forestry and deciduous reforestation, as it is so tolerant of light frosts and long dry seasons.
A Rajasthani percussion instrument, Mridanga, is often made from Sheesham. It can also be used in making plywood, agricultural tools, for flooring, or for decorative turning.
Dalbergia sissoo, known commonly as North Indian Rosewood, is an evergreen rosewood tree, also known as sheesham, sisu, tahli, Tali and also Irugudujava. It is native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southern Iran. In Persian, it is called Jag. It is the state tree of Punjab state (India) and the provincial tree of Punjab province (Pakistan). Its Afghanistan name is shewa. Indian common names are biradi, and sisau. It is primarily found growing along river banks below 900 metres (3,000 ft) elevation, but can range naturally up to 1,300 m (4,300 ft).
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