Tropical Almond Tree
Terminalia catappa

Family: Combretaceae
Genus: Terminalia (ter-min-NAY-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: catappa (kuh-TAP-uh) (Info)

Category:

Trees

Height:

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Cream/Tan

Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Deciduous

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Islamorada, Florida

Key Largo, Florida

Mango, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Satellite Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Houston, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

8
positives
2
neutrals
2
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Sep 15, 2011, iguanamom from Hill Country Village, TX wrote:

For those of you wanting to know how to propigate the seed, here's my $0.02. I brought back this seed from Belize. Actually two of them. The one that ended up sprouting last weekend i had found in my backpack a week or two after the trip and it had seriously started to ripen. I took a machete to it to try and get the outter shell off and tried to make a notch in the actual seed so i could germinate it. i think i was successful...it took a while to get through the outter shell though. i then put it in a cup of water and sat it outside. The baby grackels kept trying to eat the seed so they'd knock over the cup and i'd keep refilling it (Live in S. Tx.). After maybe a week, the seed was all nasty looking and i stuffed it in a pot I had, just to see what would happen. Well, low and be... read more

Positive

On Dec 2, 2010, galesd from San Diego, CA wrote:

I love this tree and would like to grow it from seeds I collected after the green outer covering had worn off. Do I need to remove the husk and just plant the seed itself?

Positive

On Jun 2, 2010, FlKeysRedneck from Key Largo, FL wrote:

I love this tree. It gives that exotic tropical feel here in the Fl Keys. It stays green until we get a winter cold snap dropping the temp below 50 degrees.Once that happens the tree turns a brilliant red, drops all it's leaves in a matter of weeks and then puts out new growth again.
It is considered an invasive species but I haven't seen many problems around here in those regards. The squirrels LOVE the almonds and you often find the tree sprouting in the strangest places. I have not had success at digging up even young specimens and getting them to survive due to it's taproot. I didn't have success at germinating the seeds either but now see they have to be scarified and they are not recalcitrant. Will try again when the trees produce later this year. This past winter we had ... read more

Positive

On Jan 23, 2010, themitchellfarm from Clayton, AL wrote:

I have been really getting into collecting SEA BEANS. I find these seeds along the beach in South Florida. I find ALOT of them. According to articles I have read, I can plant this seed and it will grow. I cant wait to try it. I will post another comment when I get myself a tree from one of the seeds. I cant wait to try a recipe!

Positive

On Jan 25, 2009, jimmyboyo1 from Woodbridge, VA wrote:

The Indian Almond/ Sea Almond grows up to 115 ft tall . Its natural environment is along beaches much like a coconut palm it can grow right up to and into the tidal area. Extremly salt and maritime wind tolerant.

There are some with larger amounts of flesh/ tastier and India is working on improving it for domestication. The kernel is COMPLETLY edible raw and or roasted, and has been part of local diets for millenia. RAW it has a taste similar to almond , thus the name, but is in no way related to almond. It is NOT poisonous at all the seed kernel are sold everywhere to be eaten in its natural environment.

The leaves = 1 leaf per 50 gallons of water in fish tanks/ aquaculture improves fish survival

It has been used medicinaly for millenia.... read more

Positive

On Apr 24, 2008, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This tree is absolutely gorgeous. It is to many the classic Rio de Janeiro tree. I really wish I could grow one in my garden!

Positive

On Jul 28, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Growing on in a pot here in Houston, Texas. Believe it or not, we found the seed on a beach and planted it. It took us two years to find out what it was through a friend in Cuba. The tree is now about 8 foot tall. We keep it in doors on cold nights because it seem very sensative to the cold.

Negative

On Dec 24, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Tropical Almond or West Indian Almond (Terminalia catappa) is very popular as a large landscape tree around homes and in parks in coastal areas in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide but is very invasive in many of those areas, including coastal central and southern Florida through the Keys, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Hawaii and other tropical and subtropical areas. It forms huge thickets of large, tall trees with spreading large leaves and branches, crowding out and not allowing the growth of native vegetation. It is listed as a pest in many tropical areas such as in Hawaii and is on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's Pest Plant List Category Two for it's large possibility to spread rapidly in central and southern Florida in mangrove swamps, coastal habitats and disturbed are... read more

Positive

On Nov 15, 2003, ronny828 wrote:

This plant is amazing - I don't just have this plant in my yard, but I use it for Betta Fish because of its amazing pH level balance. I recommend it to anyone that has Betta.

Negative

On Jul 23, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

It became forbidden to plant this tree here in Rio de Janeiro because of its invasiveness. It can be seen confortably living in forests and beaches, places where it shouldnt be. Definetly one of the most favorites for shades, but propagates too easy by seeds. Very bad for the native vegetation.

Edit: I have to do justice to it and add more information about the fruits. There are two kinds of fruits, produced in different trees: the pink colored inside, and yellow ones. The pink ones are bitter, impossible to eat even if completely ripe. The yellow ones are sweet, and have a good taste. Either way, theres little to eat of this fibrous fruit, and in both cases, a very tasty and nutritious almond is held inside.

Neutral

On Apr 4, 2003, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This tree is wonderful for giving shade...it is a fast grower but it can be messy in autumn and winter when all the leaves fall off! The fruits will stain clothes and pavement!

Neutral

On Mar 12, 2003, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a small to medium-sized tree with whorled horizontal branches and large obovate, dark green leaves. The flowers are axillary and occur in slender spikes. The fruit is flattened or compressed and narrowly winged. The leaves often turn red before falling. Bats and other birds feed on its fleshy red fruits, leaving the highly fibrous/nutty shell containing the slender edible almond seed.

In Taiwan the fallen leaves are used as a herbal drug in the treatment of liver related diseases. The leaves contain agents for chemo-prevention of cancer and probably have anticarciogenic potential, anticlastogenic effect due to their antioxidant properties. Tropical almond is also used by breeders of tropical aquarium fishes to keep them healthy. It is of invaluable ornamental use a... read more