Facaceae / Mimosoideae, Pithecellobium dulce, guamuchil, Madras Thorn, Manilla Tamarind
The first two photos below are of Pithecellobium dulce, taken on the central Pacific coast of Mexico. The tree is native Central and S. America, grows up to 15 meters (50 ft) and is commonly referred to as Madras Thorn, or Manilla Tamarind. Despite its origins in the Americas, it is popular throughout Asia for its xerophytic nature and for the edibility of its spongy, white aril, which can be eaten out of hand, directly off the tree, and made into a variety of beverages. In terms of texture they are similar to some Inga species. The seeds can also be eaten, roasted or fresh.
This is a great drought tolerant, nitrogen-fixing tree. However, due to the species’ adaptability, production of abundant seeds and ability to provide its own nitrogen, unless managed properly it can take over and inhibit the establishment of other plants / trees.
The wood is strong and hard, but brittle and therefore difficult to work. The bark is high in tannin and provides a yellow dye. The resin, a adhesive, reddish brown gum, exudes from the sap and has a number of uses. Livestock and wild animals forage on the seed pods and leaves. The flowers are a popular bee forage.
Medicinally: In Haiti a decoction of the root and bark are taken to treat diarrhoea; fruit pulp is eaten to stop blood flow (in case of heamoptysis). The seed juice is inhaled into the nostril against chest congestion and seeds are smashed and ingested to treat internal ulcers. The leaves, when applied as plaster, is reported to alleviate pain caused by venereal sores. When crushed and taken with salt leaves are said to cure indigestion, however in excessive quantities can also produce abortion. The root bark is taken to cure dysentery. The bark is used medicinally as a ferbrifuge.
Portuguese traders are thought to have introduced P. dulce was introduced to Indonesia. Spaniards brought it to the Philippines. It has now naturalized through the tropical world.
The last three photos are of Pithecellobium, but i’m not sure if its dulce, the leaves appear quite different.
The tree is easily propagated from seed.
If you’re interested, here are photos/info I’ve posted on other members of the Fabaceae family.
Photo of leaf and fruit/seedpod.
Fruit/seedpod below. Another pespective