Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.
London Journ. Bot. 3: 213 (1844).


2n = 26

Synonyms Mimosa dulcis Roxb. (1798), Inga dulcis (Roxb.) Willd. (1806). The genus name is often written as Pithecollobium or Pithecolobium.

Vernacular names Guayamochil, Manila tamarind, sweet inga (En). Indonesia: asam Belanda, asem londo (Java), asam koranji (Sunda). Malaysia: asam kranji, asam tjina. Philippines: kamatsile (Tagalog), kamanchilis (Bisaya), damortis (Ilokano). Burma: kway-tanyeng. Cambodia: âm'pül tük. Laos: khaam th'ééd. Thailand: makham-thet (central), makham-khong (Phrae). Vietnam: me keo, keo tây.

Origin and geographic distribution Pithecellobium dulce originates from Central America. It has been naturalized throughout the tropics. It was introduced in Indonesia by the Portuguese traders and in the Philippines by the Spaniards; it is also common in Malaysia and Thailand.

Uses The aril of Pithecellobium dulce is eaten fresh; it can be astringent but in selected clones in the Philippines it is sweet and rather dry and mealy. The seed oil is also edible, while the seed meal may be used as an animal feed. The leaves when applied as a plaster can allay pain of venereal sores and relieve convulsions and taken with salt can cure indigestion, but can also produce abortion. The root bark may be used to cure dysentery. Tannin — used to soften leather — can be extracted from the bark, seeds and leaves; the bark is also used to dye fish nets. Pithecellobium dulce is a common roadside tree, in Indonesia particularly in towns, where it is pruned into a shapely avenue tree. It is also a good hedging plant, although not fully goat-proof: the young shoots serve as fodder. Frequent clipping precludes flowering and fruiting of avenue trees and hedges. A variegated mutant is used as an ornamental pot plant.

Production and international trade In the Philippines the fruit is sold in local markets but much of the crop is consumed at home.

Properties The fresh pod consists of 25% peel, 50% aril and 25% seed. The aril contains per 100 g: water 75.8—77.8 g, protein 2.3—3 g, fat 0.4—0.5 g, carbohydrates 18.2—19.6 g, fibre 1.1—1.2 g, ash 0.6—0.7 g, calcium 13 mg, phosphorus 42 mg, iron 0.5 mg, sodium 19 mg, potassium 20.2 mg, vitamin A 25 IU, thiamine 0.24 mg, riboflavin 0.1 mg, niacin 0.6 mg and vitamin C 133 mg. The energy value is 330 kJ/100 g.

Ecology Pithecellobium dulce is not exacting in its climatic requirements and grows well at low and medium altitudes in both wet and dry areas under full sunlight. Although well-drained soil is best, it also grows successfully in heavy clay soils.

Prospects In South-East Asia Pithecellobium dulce is mainly grown as a hardy, easy-to-manage roadside tree. These properties also make it a valuable hedging plant, but it is not much utilized for that purpose in the region. Only in the Philippines is the tree grown primarily for the pods and it is unlikely that this situation will change.

  • Anonymous, 1989. Asam Kranji dan Asam Londo [Dialium indum and Pithecellobium dulce]. Majalah ASRI No 26.
  • Azis Lahiya, A., 1985. Budidaya tanaman hortikultura, buah-buahan di Indonesia [Cultivation of horticultural plants, fruits of Indonesia]. Jilid II. Bandung.
  • Gonzalez, E.V., Manas, A.E., Muli, E.I., Filamor, J.R., Maza, C.C. & Marero, R., 1974. Tannin-extract production from local (Philippine) materials; their utilization for tanning hides and skins. Forpride Digest 3(3/4): 10—22.
  • Nielsen, I., 1981. Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam. Vol. 19. Légumineuses-Mimosoïdées. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire de Phanérogamie, Paris. pp. 108—110.

Author: H. Hendro Sunarjono & R.E. Coronel

Source of This Article:
Sunarjono, H.H. & Coronel, R.E., 1991. Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.In: Verheij, E.W.M. and Coronel, R.E. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts. Pudoc, Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp. 256-257

Recommended Citation:
Sunarjono, H.H. & Coronel, R.E., 1991. Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.[Internet] Record from Proseabase. Verheij, E.W.M. and Coronel, R.E. (Editors).
PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. http://www.proseanet.org.
Accessed from Internet: 07-Aug-2020