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Tamarindus indica (tamarind)

From the sausage-shaped fruits of the tamarind tree comes the sticky acidic pulp that has been used as a food ingredient for thousands of years.
Tamarindus indica

Inflorescence of Tamarindus indica

Species information

Scientific name: 

Tamarindus indica L.

Common name: 

tamarind, Tamr hindi (Arabic - translated as Indian date), dakkar

Conservation status: 

This widely distributed species is not currently of conservation concern.


Tropical seasonally dry forest, woodland and wooded grassland, often found along rivers.

Key Uses: 

Food, timber.

Known hazards: 

Flour from the ground seeds can cause asthma and contact dermatitis.


Leguminosae/Fabaceae - Caesalpinioideae
Genus: Tamarindus

About this species

Tamarind fruits were traded widely in ancient times. Records from the eastern Mediterranean show Tamarindus indica was already in cultivation there in the fourth century B.C. On encountering the fruit in western India, Arab sea-traders thought the sticky black pulp and seeds of the fruit resembled their native date palm, so they combined their common name for date palm ‘Tamr’, along with the Arabic name for India (‘hindi’), to arrive at the common name tamrhindi on which the scientific name Tamarindus is based.


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