Food Plants International - Plant Fact Sheets Terminalia catappa - Java almond, Coastal almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond, Indian almond
Edible parts : Kernel, Nuts, Nuts-oil, Fruit
A large tree up to 25-40 m tall. It loses its leaves during the year. The trunk can be straight or twisted. There can be buttresses up to 3 m tall. The branches lie horizontally and come out in layers. The leaves are long, smooth and shiny with an abrupt point at the tip and a rounded base. Leaves tend to be near the ends of branches. Leaves can be 17-29 cm long and 10-15 cm wide. Young leaves have soft hairs. The leaves turn red and fall off twice a year. Flowers are greenish white and in a spike at the end of the branches. The lower flowers on a spike are female, then the others are male. The fruit is about 6 cm long by 3-4 cm wide, thick and flattened with a flange around the edge. The fruit are green and turn red when ripe. The pulp is edible.
Distribution: A tropical plant. This tree occurs on the beach front in most tropical countries in the world. They are sometimes cultivated as a shade tree. The tree is common in lowland areas particularly on sandy or rocky beaches. Seeds are spread by both bats and sea water as well as being planted by people. Trees are common along streets in coastal towns. They will grow from sea level up to about 800 m altitude. In PNG it is mostly below 300 m altitude. It can grow with a soil pH of 4.0-8.5. Plants are frost tender. They can tolerate drought. It grows in areas with a temperature range of 17-32°C. It suits hardiness zones 11-12.