|Other Necessities||Well Watered, Full Sun Exposure|
|Soil Specific||Well Drained, Acidic, Alkaline|
|Height||12 to 25 feet|
|Scientific name||Tamarindus Indica|
Sweet Tamarind Plant
is best described as sweet
in taste and is high in tartaric acid, sugar, B vitamins, and, unusually for a fruit, calcium. As a tropical species, it is frost sensitive. The pinnate leaves
with opposite leaflets give a billowing effect in the wind.
The tamarind tree produces pod-like fruits, which contain an edible pulp that is used extensively in cuisines around the world. Other uses of the pulp include traditional medicine and metal polish. The wood can be used for woodworking, and an oil can be extracted from the seeds. Because of the tamarind's many uses, cultivation has spread around the world in tropical and subtropical zones.
The tamarind is a long-lived, medium-growth, bushy tree, which attains a maximum crown height of 12 to 18 meters (39 to 59 ft). The crown has an irregular, vase-shaped outline of dense foliage. The tree grows well in full sun in clay, loam, sandy, and acidic soil types, with a high resistance to drought and aerosol salt (wind-borne salt as found in coastal areas).
The evergreen leaves are alternately arranged and pinnately compound. The leaflets are bright green, elliptical ovular, pinnately veined, and less than 5 cm (2.0 in) in length. The branches droop from a single, central trunk as the tree matures and is often pruned in agriculture to optimize tree density and ease of fruit harvest. At night, the leaflets close up.
The tamarind does flower, though inconspicuously, with red and yellow elongated flowers. Flowers are 2.5 cm wide (one inch), five-petalled, borne in small racemes, and yellow with orange or red streaks. Buds are pink as the four sepals are pink and are lost when the flower blooms. The fruit is an indehiscent legume, sometimes called a pod, 12 to 15 cm (4.7 to 5.9 in) in length, with a hard, brown shell.
The fruit has a fleshy, juicy, acidulous pulp. It is mature when the flesh is colored brown or reddish-brown. The tamarinds of Asia have longer pods containing six to 12 seeds, whereas African and West Indian varieties have short pods containing one to six seeds. The seeds are somewhat flattened, and glossy brown.