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Tamarindus indica seeds, Tamarind

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Tamarindus indica seeds, Tamarind
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Tamarindus indica seeds

 

Tamarindus indica belongs to the family of the Fabacaea, the legume family. It is native to the eastern part of Africa. It was soon cultivated in India. Some say that T. indica is native to India. Meanwhile the plant is distributed in all tropical and subtropical areas. T. indica is also known as tamarind. T. indica grows as a tree and reaches an average height of 10 to 15 m. In some cases it can reach a height of 25 m. The trunk is quite thick and sometimes it consists of several trunks. The leaves of the tamarind are paired pinnate and dark green. The whole pinnate leaf gets 5 to 12 cm long and consist of 40 leaflets. The leaflets are elliptic and simple. The special thing about those leaves is that they have a sleeping position. The leaflets retract to the center of the pinnate leaf. T. indica is evergreen. If the environmental conditions are bad, the leaves fall down. The flowers of the tamarind are clustered in inflorescences. The single flowers are slightly rose, reddish to white in color. The flowers can be green at the edge. The flowers reach 5 mm in diameter. The whole inflorescence can get 15 cm long. The fruit of the tamarind is a pod. It gets 15 cm long and is longish and round. The pod can have several constrictions. The pulp of the tamarind is edible. It consists mainly of carbohydrates and water. It tastes sour. Due to that it is used as acidifier in Europe. In its home country the natives make a juice from the pulp. This juice has to be sweetened otherwise it is too sour. The tamarind is also used in some sauces. In Malaysia one believes that the tamarind makes wise. Because of that one puts newborn babies a little bit of tamarind with coconut milk into the mouth. That shall make them wise. For the same reasons tamarind is fed to elephants. The pod contains 4 dark brown to black seeds. Even the wood of the tamarind is used. It is very hard and used to build furniture. However the tamarind is not cultivated because of the wood. It grows too slow.

 

Cultivation

The seeds of the tamarind have to be cleaned before planting. After that they should be put into warm water for a while. After that they can be planted into the substrate. At a temperature of about 23°C and constantly moist substrate, germination occurs after 2 to 8 weeks. The seeds of the tamarind germinate reliably. The tamarind is just slightly winter hardy. The young plant should be never kept outside during winter.

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