A medium sized tree of 12 m to 30 m, it has a dense crown and fissured to scaly bark. The leaves are simple pinnate compond with small leaflets. The flowers are reddish in bud but yellowish or whitish at maturity. The fruits are long, brown, thick, velvety pods, about 5-15cm long, and contain several hard and flat seeds surrounded by a juicy pulp. It is native to Africa, contrary to what the name 'indica ' (meaning 'of India' in Greek and Latin) suggests.
The Tamarind tree is slow growing and widely cultivated for its sweet-sourish fruit pulp, used as "asam" in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine (for example, in fish curries), and for making Worcestershire sauce. In Malay, it is known as Asam Jawa or Asam Tree. The pulp is also commonly eaten as fruit preserve - tamarind or "asam". Mostly Chinese and Eurasian villagers occupied this part of Upper Serangoon in the early 1900s and many of them kept fruit tree plantations. This Heritage Tree could be one of the fruit trees sown by villagers in their garden or plantation land.
This Heritage Tree had a girth of 3.5m when measured in Year 2001.