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Tamarindus indica


Tamarindus indica L.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Tamarind, Asam, Asam Jawa, Tamarindo, Indian Date, 罗望子, 酸豆


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 12 m to 30 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 12 m to 18 m


Native Distribution Africa
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Foliage Pinnately compound leaves are about 20cm long, with 10-18 pairs of leaflets, and are slightly arching. Individual leaflets are small, about 1.5-2cm long, and oblong. The effect is that the leaves appear fine and fern-like.
Flowers The zygomorphic flowers are quite small, and resemble orchids, about 2cm in diameter, pale yellow with purple or red veins. They are produced in small, drooping clusters.
Fruit The fruit is a legume. The pod is long, between 5 -15cm in length; brown, thick and velvety. Each fruit contains 8-10 hard and flat seeds, surrounded by a yellow-brown edible pulp.
Others - Plant Morphology A slow-growing semi-deciduous tree which can attain a height of 30m in the wild. It has a short, stocky trunk with greyish brown, fissured bark, and a dome or umbrella-shaped crown of dense, compound leaves. The leaves are usually shed when there is a dry spell. Propagation:Propagated from seeds and cuttings. Seeds remain viable for several months, and take about 1-2 weeks to germinate. Seeds should be properly cleaned and removed from the pulp before storage.Ethnobotanical Use (Food) :The flowers, leaves, seedlings and pulp of the riped fruit are edible. The fruit pulp is used in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking to achieve a sour taste. It is also an essential ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. Ethnobotanical Use (Medicinal) :The fruits are thought to improve digestion, relieve gas and soothe sore throats. Ethnobotanical Use (Other) :The bark and leaves are used for tanning. Pods can be used as animal feed. The sour juice of unripe fruits are used as a pickling agent.
Cultivation Prefers full sun, and tolerates a wide range of soil textures and soil pH, from very acidic (pH4.5) to alkaline (pH8.7). Requires moderate watering.
Etymology The monotypic genus Tamarindus is derived from the Arabic phrase "at-tamr al-hindi" meaning "date of India", in reference to the fruit. The specific epithet indica refers to India.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits
Food (Herb or Spice) (Fruit or Vegetable)
Cultural / Religious: Heritage Tree: There are currently 3 individuals of Tamarindus indica listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. The trees can be found in various parts of Singapore. To find out more about these trees, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for streetscape planting, parks and gardens for its edible fruits.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Rough
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type

Image Repository



Master ID 1881
Species ID 3174
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 29 January 2024.