Tamarind is a very common large tree with a short, massive trunk, ferny pinnate leaves, small yellow flowers and fat reddish brown pods.
The tree can get 90 ft tall but is usually less than 50 ft.
It has a short, stocky trunk, drooping branches and a domed umbrella shaped crown about as wide as the tree’s height.
The leaves are about 10 in long with 10-18 pairs of 1 in oblong leaflets.
Tamarind drops its leaves in pronounced dry seasons; in climates without a dry season, it stays evergreen.
The flowers are about 1 in across, pale yellow with purple or red veins. They have five unequal lobes and borne in small drooping clusters. The velvety cinnamon brown pods are 2-6 in long, sausage shaped and constricted between the seeds.
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.
The fruits are thought to improve digestion, relieve gas and soothe sore throats.
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.