Shisham is a medium to large deciduous tree, native to India, with a light crown which reproduces by seeds and suckers. It can grow up to a maximum of 25 m in height and 2m to 3m in diameter, but is usually smaller. It has been established in irrigated plantations, along roadsides and canals, and around farms and orchards as windbreaks. Dalbergia sissoo is best known internationally as a premier timber species of the rosewood genus. However, sissoo is also an important fuelwood, shade, shelter and fodder tree. With its multiple products, tolerance of light frosts and long dry seasons, this species deserves greater consideration for agroforestry applications.
Sissoo is among the finest cabinet, furniture and veneer timbers. The heartwood is golden to dark brown, and sapwood white to pale brownish white. The heartwood is extremely durable and is resistant to dry-wood termites. Young branches and foliage form an excellent fodder with a dry-matter content. It is used for high-quality furniture, cabinets, decorative veneer, marine and aircraft grade plywood, ornamental turnery, carving, engraving, tool handles and sporting goods. Its root wood is used for tobacco pipes.
Oil obtained from the seeds is used to cure skin diseases. The powdered wood, applied externally as a paste, is reportedly used to treat leprosy and skin diseases. The roots contain tectoridin, which is used medicinallyy