Manilla Tamarind, Madras Thorn

Pithecellobium dulce

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Pithecellobium (pith-eh-sell-LOH-bee-um) (Info)
Species: dulce (DUL-see) (Info)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


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


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring


Grown for foliage



This plant is fire-retardant

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


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

Fresno, California

Bradley, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas

Laredo, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 22, 2015, genoblade from Fresno, CA wrote:

Live in the California central valley ...I been looking to get this tree for over a year and found one at my local home depot, I bought it in May 2014 and was doing pretty good but on February 2015 wile I was out on business there was a frost and the tree appears to have died.... the branches are black and there are no leaves...

I'm looking to get another tree, seeds or cuttings. Please contact me


On Nov 30, 2012, JeffreyCaldwell from Waldon, CA wrote:

Pithecellobium dulce has many names, and is also known as Guamuchil. At the southern tip of Texas it serves as caterpillar forage -- a hostplant -- for a beautiful strikingly-colored butterfly, the Red-bordered Pixie (Melanis pixie, Riodinidae, the metalmark family) -- an atypical species that flies in overcast and even drizzly weather and may be found in the shade on sunny days.


On Oct 11, 2009, Yaya7 from Laredo, TX wrote:

The fruit is sweet. But what I like is that it appears to be a magnet for songbirds. They love the pods!

On the downside, the seeds will sprout everywhere!


On Feb 26, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

I bought this fruit from some Mexican people at a farmers market north of Plant City. I found the fruit to have a texture and taste like dried coconut and raisins. Very good. Each piece of white fruit surrounded a hard black seed which germinated easily.

Then I spend a couple of years trying to find out what I had. It is indeed prickly and to be handled with care. But blackberries are worse. And if it fruits for me, I will be very happy with it. It is definitely easy to grow


On Dec 29, 2003, Skrontsch wrote:

Pithecellobium dulce is one of the most common trees of the Mexican highlands. Its Nahuatl (Aztec) name was cuauhm˘chitl (pronounced kwah-ooh-'mau-chittal), the "popcorn tree", cuahu(itl) meaning "tree", and m˘chitl, "popcorn". (The pre-Columbian Mexicans "invented" popcorn.) In fact, the white, sweet and edible flesh around its seeds strongly resembles popcorn, both in shape and in texture. Even today, the most common Mexican name of the tree is guam˙chil (pronounced gwah-ooh-'moo-chill), an obvious corruption of its Aztec name.

When ripe, the pods burst open, so it is very easy to pick the sweet flesh which is still a very popular snack among Mexican farmers, especially kids. In some places, it is also used in atoles (gruels) which, as always in Mexico, are sipped from a m... read more


On May 19, 2003, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

It is not a pretty tree to landscape with and it is very thorny and spikey. It has a spreading habit with irregular brancehs. Leaves are deciduous but new leaves appear while the old ones are being shed. Flowers are small whitish-greenish color with often a sweet smell. The fruits or legumes are redish color and about 10-12" long. There are approximately 10 seeds in each pod. The pods pods are irregular and flat in shape and are spiraled. The fruit is sweet and have a chestnut sort of flavor. They are often used in making drinks. The flowers attract bees and it said to make a wonderful honey. The bark is very high in tannin and the tree also produces a gum similar to gum arabic.