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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) including tropical plants, some literatures mentioned that this plant origin is East African savanna. Since thousands of years, this plant has been venturing into tropical Asia and later to the Caribbean and Latin America. In many places that could be an ideal location to grow, these plants like a wilder part in the whole leaf forests and savannas.

Tamarind trees can grow well in low land up to about 1,000 m (sometimes up to 1,500 m) above sea level, on sandy or clay soil, especially in the territory that have a long dry season. Now, tamarind is an important fruit especially for the South East Asian Countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, or Thailand. The fruit has close relation with their modern food and food industrial, or even with herbal medicine.

Characteristics of the tree:
Tamarind trees including large-trunked trees, always green (not experienced the fall of the leaf), can reach 30 m high, with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m at the base. Bark grayish brown, rough and break, grooved-vertical grooves, shady and dense leafy canopy, wide and rounded.

A pinnately even compound leaves, 5-13 cm long, located alternate, with leaves like ribbons tapered fulcrum, whitish pink. Child leaves narrow oblong, 8-16 pairs, each measuring 1 to 3.5 cm × 0.5-1, brimmed flat, sloping, and rounded base, rounded to slightly notched tip.

Flowers arranged in loose bunches, leaves in the armpits or on the end of branches, up to 16 cm in length. Butterfly flower with petals and leaves crown 4 pieces 5 pieces, fragrant, crown whitish yellow with red veins brown, to 1.5 cm.

The fruit:
Pods and bloated, almost cylindrical, crooked or straight, to 10 grain seed, often with a constriction between the two seeds, fruit skin (eksokarp) hardened scaly brown or gray, with veins of clay that hardens and similar threads. Fruit flesh (mesocarp) greenish white when young, becoming red-brown to black when it is ripe, sweet and sour taste when ripe, sticky flesh. Seeds dark brown, shiny and hard, somewhat square, while still young, the fruit completely sour taste.

Tamarinds, raw, Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz): Energy 239 kcal (1,000 kJ), Carbohydrates 62.5 g,  Fat 0.6 g, Protein 2.8 g, Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.428 mg (37%), Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.152 mg (13%), Niacin (vit. B3) 1.938 mg (13%), Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.143 mg (3%), Vitamin B6 0.066 mg (5%), Folate (vit. B9) 14 μg (4%), Choline 8.6 mg (2%), Vitamin C 3.5 mg (4%), Vitamin E 0.1 mg (1%), Vitamin K 2.8 μg (3%), Calcium 74 mg (7%), Iron 2.8 mg (22%), Magnesium 92 mg (26%), Phosphorus 113 mg (16%), Potassium 628mg (13%), Sodium 28 mg (2%) and  Zinc 0.1 mg (1%)
Source: USDA Database 

Scientific classification:
  • Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)
  •       Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (Vascular Plants)
  •           Super Division: Spermatophyta (Produces seeds)
  •               Division: Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)
  •                   Class: Magnoliopsida (dashed two / dicots)
  •                       Sub Class: Rosidae
  •                           Order: Fabales
  •                               Family: Fabaceae (legumes tribe)
  •                                   Genus: Tamarindus
  •                                       Species: Tamarindus indica.