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Manila tamarind (Pithecellobium dulce)


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Common names 

Manila tamarind, blackbead, guayamochil, Madras thorn, camachile, sweet inga [English]; guamúchil, chiminango, payandé, espina de Madras [Spanish]; huamúchil, cuamúchil [Spanish/Mexico]; yacure [Spanish/Venezuela]; pois sucré, tamarin de Manille, tamarin d'Inde [French]; cuamochitl [Nahuatl]; kamatsile, kamatsili [Tagalog]; opiuma [Hawaian Creole]; जंगल जलेबी [Hindi]; മാനിലപ്പുളി [Malayalam]; Манильский тамаринд [Russian]; సీమ చింత [Telugu]; มะขามเทศ [Thai]; me nước, me keo [Vietnamese]; 金龜樹 [Chinese]


Mimosa dulcis Roxb.

Related feed(s) 

Manila tamarind (Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.) is a small to medium-sized semi-evergreen leguminous tree, 5 to 20 m high (Ecocrop, 2011; FAO, 2011). Manila tamarind is a fast growing tree that may reach a height of 10 m in 5-6 years in favourable conditions (Duke, 1983). Manila tamarind has a short, stout, greyish trunk (30-100 cm in diameter) that bears low irregular branches and forms a broad crown (Ecocrop, 2011; FAO, 2011). The leaves are paripinnate with 4 leaflets (2.0-3.5 cm long x 1.0-1.5 cm wide). Small thorns (2.0-15.0 mm long) are inserted on each side of the leaf pedicels, though some varieties are thornless. While tree appears evergreen, the leaflets are deciduous and shed in succession. The inflorescences are axillary panicles which bear spherical glomerules (1 cm in diameter) of small, white-greenish, slightly flagrant flowers. Fruits are greenish-brown to red-pinkish, indehiscent pods. Pods are rather thin, 10-15 cm long x 1-2 cm wide, and set in a spiral of 1 to 3 whorls. The pods contain 10 seeds. The seeds are flattened, black and shiny (1 cm in diameter) (FAO, 2011).

Manila tamarind is a multipurpose tree. Its pods are edible and contain a thick sweetish acidic pulp. They can be eaten raw or processed into a soft drink similar to lemonade. Oil can be extracted from the seeds and is used for cooking or for making soaps (FAO, 2011).

Manila tamarind oil meal, pods and leaves are useful livestock feeds. The by-product of oil extraction is a protein-rich meal (30% protein) that can be fed to animals. Pods are also relished by all classes of livestock and Manila tamarind leaves can withstand heavy browsing. It is commonly browsed by horses, cattle, goats and sheep (NAS, 1980). In some places in Latin America, Manila tamarind is one of the most important browse species and is primarily used as a fodder during the dry season (FAO, 2011; Le Houérou, 1980).

Manila tamarind provides valuable hardwood timber for construction, paneling, boxes and posts but should not be used for fuel since it is very smoky. The tree is planted for shade, shelter, thorny hedges and as an ornamental tree (Ecocrop, 2011).


Manila tamarind originated from a large Central American area, stretching from Southern California to Colombia and Venezuela. It was introduced to Indonesia and the Philippines by the Portuguese and the Spanish (Duke, 1983), and is also found in Malaysia and Thailand (Sunarjono et al., 1991). It was successfully planted in small areas in the South Sahelian and North Sudanese ecozones (FAO, 2011). It is now widespread (planted and naturalized) in tropical regions where it can be found along rivers and roadsides, in dry thickets or forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 1800 m and in areas where annual rainfall ranges from 400 mm to 1500 mm (Ecocrop, 2011; FAO, 2011; Sunarjono et al., 1991). In Hawaii, it has been declared a weed (Duke, 1983).

Manila tamarind grows in a wide range of soils and temperatures (it is nevertheless frost sensitive) and survives dry periods ranging from 3 up to 8 months (Ecocrop, 2011; FAO, 2011; Orwa et al., 2009). It prefers full sunlight but can withstand considerable shade (Orwa et al., 2009).

Environmental impact 

Soil improver and afforestation

Manila tamarind is an N-fixing legume that can survive dry periods and grow in most types of soil. It is also tolerant of salinity and will grow in brackish water (Selvam, 2007). Manila tamarind may be used in afforestation (Orwa et al., 2009).

Living fences

Manila tamarind makes thorny living fence posts and hedges (FAO, 2011). However, it does not appear to be totally goat-proof (Sunarjono et al., 1991). Manila tamarind also provides dense shade (Orwa et al., 2009).

Nutritional aspects
Potential constraints 

The thorns of Manila tamarind can cause the same hurts to people and animals as barbed-wire (Morton, 1962).



Manila tamarind can be used for lopping and browsing, to be fed as the sole forage or as a supplement (Göhl, 1982).

In yearling female lambs, the DM intake of dry and fresh leaves ranged from 3.93 to 4.55% body weight with a slightly higher intake and significantly higher digestibility for fresh leaves (Harish et al., 2003). Similar level of intake (4.55 kg DM/100 kg BW) was registered with 6 month-old goats fed young leaves, resulting in an average daily gain of 50 g/day (Kundu et al., 1983).

Several studies have reported beneficial effects of Manila tamarind foliage used as a supplement (Fall Touré et al., 1998; Kahindi et al., 2007; Paengkoum et al., 2010; Saha et al., 2008). In 6 month-old East African goats consuming Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum), an increase in supplementation level (from 7.5 to 22.5 g DM/kgW0.75) resulted in higher crude protein, DM intake and weight gain (from 8 to 43 g/day). However, a supplementation level higher than 22.5 g DM/kgW0.75 depressed intake and caused N losses. From this study, the recommended level for optimal production is in the 40-50% diet DM range (22.5 g DM/kg W0.75) (Kahindi et al., 2007). In another study with cross-bred goats, Manila tamarind foliage replaced 45-50% of the crude protein from soybean meal without affecting productive performance, rumen fermentation and microbial protein yield (Paengkoum et al., 2010).


Early research suggests that pods are very palatable to livestock (Göhl, 1982).

Nutritional tables

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 35.8 30.6 41.0 2
Crude protein % DM 21.3 19.2 23.5 2
Crude fibre % DM 25.1 23.1 27.0 2
NDF % DM 40.2 1
ADF % DM 29.4 1
Lignin % DM 12.3 1
Ether extract % DM 3.7 3.0 4.3 2
Ash % DM 8.4 5.0 11.8 2
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.8 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 36.3 1
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.4 1
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 2.8 1
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 0.1 1
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 70.2 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 67.1 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 12.6 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.0 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


CIRAD, 1991; Russell, 1947

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:33

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 28.1 25.0 31.1 2
Crude protein % DM 20.2 3.6 15.9 29.0 10
Crude fibre % DM 24.2 3.6 17.5 27.5 6
NDF % DM 43.9 2.5 41.0 47.4 7
ADF % DM 29.1 1.4 26.7 31.1 7
Lignin % DM 10.4 0.7 9.6 11.8 7
Ether extract % DM 7.2 2.3 4.4 12.5 9
Ash % DM 10.3 1.8 5.6 12.1 10
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 19.2 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 9.6 7.8 11.4 2
Phosphorus g/kg DM 3.5 1
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 6.3 5.9 2.3 19.4 7
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 71.1 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 68.0 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 13.0 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.3 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Abdulrazak et al., 2006; CIRAD, 1991; Russell, 1947

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:33

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Archimède H., 2015. Manila tamarind (Pithecellobium dulce). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/263 Last updated on October 13, 2015, 16:36

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)
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