Pithecellobium dulce is a flowering plant native to Central and northern South America. It is introduced and extensively naturalised in the Caribbean, Florida, Guam and Southeast Asia. It is considered an invasive weed in Hawaiʻi.
It is known by the name Madras Thorn, but it is not native to Madras. The name Manila Tamarind is misleading, since it is neither closely related to tamarind, nor native to Manila. The name monkeypod is more commonly used for the Rain Tree (Albizia saman). Other names include guamachili (guamúchil) (Spanish), kamatsile (camachile) (Filipino), ʻopiuma (Hawaiian), blackbead, sweet inga, sweet tamarind, વિલાયતી આંબલી vilayati ambli (Gujarati), जंगल जलेबी jungle jalebi or ganga imli (Hindi), seeme hunase (Kannada), विलायती चिंच vilayati chinch (Marathi) , கொடுக்காப்புளி kodukkappuli (Tamil).
The tree is about 5 to 8 meters high. Its trunk is spiny and its leaves are bipinnate. Each pinna has a single pair of ovate-oblong leaflets that are about 2 to 4 cm long. The flowers are greenish-white, fragrant, sessile and reach about 12 cm long though looks shorter due to coiling. The flowers produce a pod with an edible pulp. The seeds are black.
The seeds are propagated via birds that feeds on the sweet pod. The Manila tamarind is drought-resistant and can survive in dry land from sea level to 300m elevation. Because of these characteristics they are usually cultivated as street trees.
In folk medicine, a decoction of its bark can cure frequent bowel movement. The leaves can be applied as plasters for pain and venereal sores. Decoctions of leaves are also used for indigestion and abortifacient. Its bark is also used due to its high tannin content and might be the reason behind its introduction to Guam from Mexico via the Philippines.
Food / Beverage
Its fruit's pulp is sweet and can be eaten raw or prepared as a beverage.
This plant is known under numerous junior synonyms: Acacia obliquifolia M.Martens & Galeotti
Albizia dulcis (Roxb.) F.Muell.
Feuilleea dulcis (Roxb.) Kuntze
Inga camatchili Perr.
Inga dulcis (Roxb.) Willd.
Inga javana DC.
Inga javanica DC.
Inga lanceolata sensu Blanco
Inga lanceolata Willd. is Pithecellobium lanceolatum
Inga leucantha C.Presl
Inga pungens Willd.
Mimosa dulcis Roxb.
Mimosa edulis Gagnep.
Mimosa pungens (Willd.) Poir.
Mimosa unguis-cati Blanco
Mimosa unguis-cati L. is Pithecellobium unguis-cati
Pithecellobium littorale Record
Pithecollobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. ([8lapsus]])1
Sources and References