Tamarindus indica L.

Tamarind fruit

Common names
English (tamarind, Indian date); Swahili (Mkwaju); Arabic (ardeib,aradeib); Bemba (mushishi); Bengali (anbli,amli,nuli); Burmese (magyee, majee-pen); Creole (tamarenn); Filipino (sampal)
Tamarind fruit
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Tree info

Dimensions in meters Up to 30 m in height
Maturity of tree before yields 7-10 years
Productivity lifetime 50-60+ years
Seasonality In the Americas, harvesting usually takes place between April–June. In Africa, India and Southeast Asia, the timing will vary by latitude, usually falling sometime between February–May
Production zones and cultivation methods Tamarindus Indica L. is a slow-growing but long-lived tree. The tree may remain productive until it reaches old age, yielding up to 150 kg or over 2 tons/ha/year of fruit. The plant grows well over a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, occurring in low-altitude woodlands, savannahs and bush regions, which are often associated with termite mounds.
While it prefers these semi-arid areas and wooded grasslands, it can also be found growing along streams and riverbanks. Its extensive root system contributes to its resistance to drought and wind.


Per 100 g edible portion (EP)

Tamarind fruits are rich in protein and antioxidants, containing 40 percent more protein than the same serving size of avocado. They also contain several phytochemicals, including beta-carotene equivalents.
Energy (kcal) 277 kcal
% Daily Value (DV) *
Macronutrients Carbohydrates: 61.3 g 22 %
Proteins: 3.6 g 7 %
Fats: 0.8 g 1 %
Key Minerals Potassium: 933 mg 20 %
Calcium: 192 mg 15 %
Magnesium: 87 mg  7 %
Iron: 66 mg 16 %
Key Vitamins Folate (Vitamin B9): 15 mcg 13%
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): 12 mg   6 %
Niacin (Vitamin B3): 1 mg  4 %
Other Daily fibre: 5.1 g 18 %
*All Daily Recommended Values are calculated using the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s recommendation guide.


Native to Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Also found in India, Southeast Asia and the Americas.


The edible fruit pulp of the tamarind tree is sour, has a very acidic taste and can be eaten raw. It is popular for flavouring tea, curries and rice. The pulp makes an excellent chutney as well as a pleasant, refreshing drink. In other regions, the pulp is used in the preparation of jams, juices, and sweets. Its fruit is marketed worldwide in sauces, syrups and processed foods, and the juice is an ingredient in Worcestershire Sauce. These economic benefits could have an indirect positive effect on food security and nutrition for producers who can use the income to diversify their diets.

The tree’s leaves are used as fodder for livestock including camels and goats, while they also make good mulch that helps to conserve soil and enhance fertility. It is an ideal tree for providing shade in hot areas, which could benefit agroforestry systems by protecting young crops from the harsh sunlight. The plant is also reported to have medicinal properties and can be used as a poultice to reduce fever and as a laxative.

Tamarind lumber is used to make furniture, carvings, and household objects. The evergreen habit and the beautiful flowers make it suitable for ornamental planting in parks, along roads and riverbanks.

Scientific references


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