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Tamarindus indica

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physical dormancy, which can be overcome by scarifying the seed coat to allow water uptake and encourage germination.

Tamarindus indica (Image: W. Stuppy, RBG Kew)

Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand under an alternating temperature regime of 30/15°C or a constant temperature of 20°C.

The seeds of this species may be Physically Dormant (based on other species in the same genus). If germination is low, try chipping the seed coat with a scalpel before sowing.

Seed Morphology

The indehiscent, pendulous pods are usually curved and oblong in shape (5-14 x 2 cm), with a loose, minutely scaly crust and a brittle shell which is light greyish or brown in colour. The pod is irregularly constricted into sections and contains 1-10 seeds.

The reddish or purplish brown seeds (3-10 x 1 cm) are obovate, flattened, hard and shiny. They are joined to each other by tough fibres running through a blackish brown, sticky pulp which surrounds the seed cavities.

See images of this species at VIRBOGA (The Virtual Botanic Garden) and the Digital Atlas of Economic Plants.



Accepted name: Tamarindus indica L.

Synonyms: Tamarindus erythraea Mattei, Tamarindus somalensis Mattei

Common name: tamarind

References and Links

  • Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • Janick, J. and Paull, R.E. (eds) (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CAB International, UK.
  • Purseglove, J.W. (1968). Tropical Crops: dicotyledons. Longman Group Ltd., UK. 
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Tamarindus indica.
  • Forest & Landscape Denmark - University of Copenhagen, Denmark: seed leaflet on Tamarindus indica.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Tamarindus indica.
  • Tamarindus indica (tamarind) - Species profile from Kew
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Tamarindus indica.