Pithecellobium dulce

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Pithecellobium dulce
Pithecellobium dulce tree
In Kolkata, West Bengal (India)
Pithecellobium dulce beans.JPG
ripe Pithecellobium dulce bean
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Pithecellobium
Species: P. dulce
Binomial name
Pithecellobium dulce
(Roxb.) Benth.[2]

Pithecellobium dulce is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the Pacific Coast and adjacent highlands of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.[2] It is an Introduced species and extensively naturalised in the Caribbean, Florida, Guam as well as in India, Bengal and the Philippines. It is considered an invasive species in Hawaii.

Description[edit]

P. dulce is a tree that reaches a height of about 10 to 15 m (33 to 49 ft). Its trunk is spiny and its leaves are bipinnate. Each pinna has a single pair of ovate-oblong leaflets that are about 2 to 4 m (6.6 to 13.1 ft) long. The flowers are greenish-white, fragrant, sessile and reach about 12 cm (4.7 in) in length, though appear shorter due to coiling. The flowers produce a pod, which turns pink when ripe and opens to expose an edible pulp. The pulp contains black shiny seeds that are circular and flat.

The seed is dispersed via birds that feed on the sweet pulp. The tree is drought resistant and can survive in dry lands from sea level to an elevation of 1,500 m (4,900 ft), making it suitable for cultivation as a street tree.

Uses[edit]

As food[edit]

The seed pods contain a sweet and sour pulp that which in Mexico is eaten raw as an accompaniment to various meat dishes and used as a base for drinks with sugar and water (agua de huamuche). The seeds are also edible and refined to extract oil, which amounts to 10% of their weight. They also contain 28% protein.[3]

As medicine[edit]

The bark and pulp are astringent and hemostatic. The indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica use the pulp and bark against gum ailments, toothache and hemorrhages in general. A bark extract is also used against dysentery, chronic diarrhea and tuberculosis. An extract of the leaves is used for gall ailments and to prevent miscarriage. The ground seed is used to clean ulcers.[3]

Ecology[edit]

P. dulce is a host plant for the caterpillars of the red-bordered pixie (Melanis pixe), three-spot grass yellow (Eurema blanda) and many other moths.[4]

Synonyms[edit]

Depending on the region of its occurrence pithecellobium is known by different names. In its native Mexico, the tree is known as huamuche, guamuche / huamúchil/ guamúchil / cuamúchil / deriving from its Nahuatl name cuauhmochitl. In the wider region it is also called "pinzán"', or 'guamá americano (Puerto Rico).

It is called "seema chintakaya" in Telugu. The name "monkeypod" is more commonly used for the rain tree (Albizia saman). Other names include blackbead, sweet Inga,[2] ផ្លែអំពិលទឹក(Plaeh umpel tek) (Khmer), Makham thet Thai: มะขามเทศ,ʻopiuma (Hawaiian), kamachile (Filipino),[5] கொர்கலிக்காய்/ கோணக்காய்/ கோன புளியங்கா/ கொடுக்காப்புளி kodukkappuli (Tamil), ದೊರ ಹುಣಸೆ/ಸೀಮೆ ಹುಣಸೆ dora hunase or seeme hunase (Kannada), વિલાયતી આંબલી vilayati ambli (Gujarati), जलेबी jalebi or ganga imli (Hindi), তেঁতুল tetul (Bengali), seeme hunase (Kannada), विलायती चिंच vilayati chinch (Marathi) and సీమ చింత seema chinta (Telugu).

In India it goes by the name "Madras thorn", although it is not native to Madras. The name "Manila tamarind" is also misleading, since it is neither closely related to tamarind, nor native to Manila.

This plant is known under numerous junior synonyms:[6]

  • Acacia obliquifolia M.Martens & Galeotti
  • Day man " شجرة الديمان " Yemen, Adenاليمن, عدن
  • Albizia dulcis (Roxb.) F.Muell.
  • Feuilleea dulcis (Roxb.) Kuntze
  • Inga camatchili Perr.
  • Inga dulcis (Roxb.) Willd.
  • Inga javana DC.
  • Inga javanica DC.
  • Inga lanceolata sensu Blanco
Inga lanceolata Willd. is Pithecellobium lanceolatum
  • Inga leucantha C.Presl
  • Inga pungens Willd.
  • Mimosa dulcis Roxb.
  • Mimosa edulis Gagnep.
  • Mimosa pungens (Willd.) Poir.
  • Mimosa unguis-cati Blanco
Mimosa unguis-cati L. is Pithecellobium unguis-cati
  • Pithecellobium littorale Record
  • Pithecollobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. (lapsus)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pithecellobium dulce - (Roxb.) Benth. Guama Americano". NatureServe Explorer. NatureServe. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  2. ^ a b c "Taxon: Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1994-08-23. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  3. ^ a b Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity: Pithecellobium Dulce: http://www.conabio.gob.mx/conocimiento/info_especies/arboles/doctos/45-legum38m.pdf
  4. ^ "Red-bordered Pixie Melanis pixe (Boisduval, 1836)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  5. ^ Grandtner, Miroslav M. (2005). Elsevier's Dictionary of Trees: With Names in Latin, English, French, Spanish and Other Languages 1. Elsevier. pp. 670–671. ISBN 978-0-444-51784-5. 
  6. ^ International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS) (2005): Pithecellobium dulce. Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 2008-MAR-30.

External links[edit]