Scientific name
Tamarindus indica1

Local name(s)
Rogo'ota (Konsogna), Koria (Wolayetgna), Tamarind (English)

General description
T.  indica is a large evergreen tree to 30m, with an extensive dense, low and spreading crown. It is evergreen but can be deciduous in dry areas. The bark is dark brown, coarsely fissured longitudinally. The young leaves and the buds are red. Flowers are orange-yellow. The fruit pods are sausage-shaped to 10cm or more. Young fruits are greenish brown turning rusty brown at maturity. Dry fruit coat brittle. The pulp is reddish brown and the seeds are dark red.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
The flesh of the fruits is edible. When the fruits are soaked in water overnight the liquid becomes a tasty fruit juice, which is appreciated especially by children and the Muslim population. The fruits smell like potatoes but taste bitter like a lemon candy. Children keep the fruit in their mouth like others would do with a chewing gum or a candy. Actually the taste is quite refreshing and pleasant when the fruit is kept in the mouth for a while. Farmers in Konso report that after much sucking the mouth gets numb. The fruit can also be used as a sort of spice to be added to food. Children reported that they usually collect and trade the fruits in school during food shortage periods. In Kindo Koyisha, Wolayita area, people also collect and consume the fruits.

Nutritional value
The fruits have a high vitamin C content (60mg/100g).

The species is well known and indigenous in tropical Africa. T. indica is very adaptable, drought resistant and prefers semi-arid areas and wooded grasslands. It grows in most soils but does best in well-drained deep alluvial soil, often riverine in very dry areas. The tree is a lowland species growing in altitudes from 0 - 1,500m.

Propagation method(s) & management
Propagates by seedlings, wildlings, direct sowing. The seeds germinate easily without any treatment. The species is light-demanding and should be planted in an open area. Seeds geminate after 2-3 weeks and growth rate is high at the beginning.

Sample location(s)
(1) Dokatu Kebele, Konso; (2) Z/Nare Kebele, Kindo Koyisha; (3) Faricho Kebele, Humbo

The species is multipurpose and is also known for its medicinal value (bark, leaves, roots & fruits). Furthermore, it can be used for firewood, charcoal production, poles, timber, fodder.

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 426/427; Maundu et al., 1999: p.221/222; Katende et al., 1999: p. 418/419

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Child picking fruits from T. indica tree, Dokatu Kebele, Konso, January 2000