(Last Updated on : 02/08/2011)
Tree belongs to the family of Fabaceae. Its scientific name is `Tamarindus Indica`. The name of this tree was derived from the Persian word `Tamar-e-Hind`, which means `Indian date`. Tamarind tree is known as a very charming tree and it is a member of the `Leguminosae` family and `Caesalpinieae` sub family. There are different names of tamarind in different regional languages of the country. Like for instance, it is known as Tamrulhindi, Ambili and Imli in Hindi Language
. In Bengali language
, tamarind is known as Tinti, Nuli and Tentul. The tree is named as Puli in both Tamil language and Malayalam language.
Description of Tamarind Tree
The flowers of the tamarind tree are very ordinary and the size of the tree is really large and it can reach a great age of around 200 years. Almost throughout the year, this tree stands tall and creates a very charming and beautiful sight. The tamarind tree has some nice and spreading branches and a canopy of bulging flora. The tree is much admired as an avenue, park or garden tree as it has very useful fruits and the timber of this tree is highly prized. It has a short but strong trunk to bear the weight of its wide and extensive top. The almost black bark is thick and some longitudinal and horizontal cracks cover it well. The tree can achieve the height of 27 metres.
In the months of May and June, there appear some tiny, scented flowers in the tree in loose, lethal and sidewise sprays. They remain almost unremarkable amongst the mass of the plants. Each of the flowers is more than 2.5 cm in length and the four velvety or yellow sepals increase to the full width and appear more like petals. The original petals are smaller and normally three in numbers. They are also velvety and yellow like the flowers. The difference is that the petals remain covered with a nice net of deep red veins. Three green stamens of the flowers and one long pistil bend from the centre. The buds of the tamarind tree are usually enclosed in two sheaths and often crimson in colour. These things make an appealing variation on the flower sprays. The pods are quite numerous. They significantly vary in size and shape on the same tree. Their appearance is of brown colour. They are off-white and brittle when got maturity. A stringy pulp contains the seeds from one to ten and the pod is more or less slimmed between these seeds. The pulp is brown and acid in some of the varieties of Tamarind and in others it is sweet but the one with reddish pulp is considered to be the best. The new and fresh leaves appear in the first months of the year and they appear even in September in some special occasions. The conversion of the tree is strange. The leaves of the tamarind tree are compound in its formation and usually divided into 10 to 12 pairs of leaflets. They are quite small and become even smaller at the end of the year. They are square, smooth and they grow diagonally.
Uses of Tamarind Tree
The fruit of tamarind tree has numerous usages. The pulp is used as an important ingredient in the curries. There are some commercial uses too. It is preserved and also sold in the markets. It is also used as a laxative in medicine. People make powder from grinding the seeds and boil it to paste with gum and make strong cement. A substitute for wheat or other flour can also be obtained from them that are used by the people. The stalks of the seeds have been employed for road surfacing as well. The scientists also discovered that the seeds could make a cheap but efficient substitute for cereal starch that is used for making the cotton yarn in proper size, for jute fabrics and for woollens. Further, the leaves and flowers of the tree are also quite useful. An infusion from the leaves can make a fine yellow dye that is used to give a green colour to silk
s. Though hard and very difficult to work on, the timber of the tree is of high value. People widely use this wood for making wheels, mallets, furniture, oil and sugar mills, etc.