Tamarindus indica
Common Name: tamarind 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Tropical Africa
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: Cream to pale yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where it is best grown in acidic, fertile, sandy, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils. Intolerant of frost. Established trees have good drought tolerance.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tamarindus indica, commonly known as tamarind, is a frost-free, tropical evergreen tree that typically grows to 40-60' (less frequently to 90') tall. It is native to eastern Africa, but is now commonly grown and in some cases has naturalized in a number of tropical to subtropical areas around the world. Tamarind trees feature (a) short stout trunks topped by bushy wide-spreading crowns with arching branches, (b) ferny, even-pinnate, compound leaves with light green leaflets, (c) summer bloom of red-veined cream to pale yellow flowers in drooping racemes and (d) plump cinnamon-brown bean-like seed pods filled, when ripe, with an edible sweet-sour pulp which has a variety of culinary uses. Leaves are evergreen, but some leaf drop will occur in climates which have a dry season. Each leaf (to 6" long) contains 10 to 18 pairs of 1" long, elliptic-oval leaflets which cast an often attractive dappled shade. Leaflets typically close up at night. Small 3-petaled flowers (each to 1" across) bloom in lax, 6-10 flowered racemes (each to 6" long), but flowers are not particularly showy from a distance. Flowers give way to cinnamon-brown, bean-like pods (to 3-8" long) which are commercially grown for fruit production, particularly in Southeast Asia and India where the pulp is commonly added to curries. This edible pulp/paste from the pods is used in a variety of culinary applications including curries, chutneys, sauces, sherbets, jams, syrups, and beverages. It is an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. Parts of tamarind tree are also used medicinally.

Genus name comes from the Arabic name tamar meaning date and hindi meaning Indian.

Specific epithet means of India but has been applied much more widely. This tree is native to eastern Africa.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Occasional insect problems include scale, mealybug, fruit borers, caterpillars, aphids and thrips. Occasional disease problems include leaf spots and rot.

Garden Uses

Shade tree and/or fruit tree. Landscape specimen/accent but needs a big space. Residential street tree. Parking lot islands. Parks.