Tamarind, Tamarindus indica
Did you know you can grow one of the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce right in your backyard? The fruits of the tamarind tree are used throughout the world in chutneys, drinks, candy and sauces. In the US, tamarind is sometimes used in barbeque sauces and can be found in sweetened drinks available at ethnic restaurants and stores.
Although native to tropical Africa, this tree is now grown worldwide. In Florida, it is rated for zones 10-11, may grow up to 90 feet, and will be evergreen except during long droughts. Our horticulturist, Debbie, loves the weeping form of this tree and says the tamarind makes an excellent shade tree. Flowers are produced in the summer and the fruits that follow may hang on the tree for several months. Our tamarind tree is next to the friendship walk on the Edison property. It is flowering now and produced more than 50 fruits last year, even though it was planted just six years ago.
Our friends at the University of Florida extension service compiled a few recipes for tamarind, including “Tamarind Chicken with Mangoes”. Lucky for you, our Garden Shoppe sells tamarind and mango trees. Sorry, no chickens.
Britta Soderqvist, Plant Curator