Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) belongs to the dicotyledonous family Fabaceae (Legumi-nosae), and the genus Tamarindus is monotypic. The tree is a long-lived, large evergreen, and generally grows wild. A mature tree may attain a maximum height of 30 m. Leaves are pinnate with opposite leaflets, giving a billowing effect in the wind, and consist of 10—40 leaflets. Flowers are produced in racemes, and are mainly yellow in color. The fruit is a brown pod-like legume, which contains a soft acidic pulp, and is sausage-shaped, curved, or straight, with rounded ends; the pulp is thick and blackish-brown in color, and contains many hard-coated seeds. Tamarind timber consists of hard, dark-red heartwood and softer yellowish sapwood. The seeds are hard, shiny, reddish- or purplish-brown, and can be scarified to assist germination. The tree can grow even in unfertile soil, and has the ability to fix nitrogen and withstand severe drought.
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