Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) (from Latinization of Arabic: تمر هندي tamar Hind “Indian Date”) is a tree in the family Fabaceae. The genus Tamarindus is monotypic (having only a single species).


Tamarindus indica is indigenous to tropical Africa, particularly where it continues to grow wild in Sudan; it is also cultivated in Cameroon, Nigeria and Tanzania. In Arabia it is found wild growing in Oman, especially Dhofar, where it grows on sea-facing mountains. It reached South Asia likely through human transportation, and cultivation several thousand years prior to the Common Era.[1][2] It is widely distributed throughout the Tropical belt, from Africa to South Asia, and throughout South East Asia, Taiwan and as far as China. In the 16th century it was heavily introduced to Mexico, as well as South America, by Spanish and Portuguese colonists, to the degree that it became a common ingredient in everyday living.

The tamarind was introduced into tropical America, mainly Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the West Indies, by either Portuguese or Spanish colonists, or perhaps by African slaves or seamen in the 17th century.

One of the first tamarind trees in Hawaii was planted in 1797.


The tamarind is a long-lived, medium-growth bushy tree which attains a maximum crown height of 12.1 to 18.3 metres (40 to 60 feet). 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 drought and aerosol salt (wind-borne salt as found in coastal area) resistance.

Leaves are evergreen, bright green in colour, elliptical ovular, arrangement is alternate, of the pinnately compound type, with pinnate venation and less than 5 cm (2 inches) in length. The branches droop from a single, central trunk as the tree matures and is often pruned in human 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, yellow with orange or red streaks. Buds are pink as the 4 sepals are pink and are lost when the flower blooms.

The fruit is an indehiscent legume, sometimes called a pod, 12 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) in length with a hard, brown shell. The fruit has a fleshy, juicy, acidulous pulp. It is mature when the flesh is coloured brown or reddish-brown. The tamarinds of Asia have longer pods containing 6-12 seeds, whereas African and West Indian varieties have short pods containing 1-6 seeds. The seeds are somewhat flattened, and glossy brown.

would like to know more on health benefits of tamarind.

They are strongly acidic.