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Terminalia catappa - L.

Common Name Indian Almond, Tropical Almond Tree
Family Combretaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Various species of biting and stinging ants have been found inhabiting hollow twigs on this tree[407 ].
Habitats A mid-canopy tree in areas just inland from ocean beaches, near river mouths, and on coastal plains. These areas are typically flat, but they may have dunes or rocky bluffs[303 , 653 ]. Sandy or rocky beaches[451 ].
Range Africa - Maagascar; E. Asia - China, India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea to Australia and the Pacific.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Terminalia catappa Indian Almond, Tropical Almond Tree

Terminalia catappa Indian Almond, Tropical Almond Tree


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Terminalia catappa, otherwise known as Indian Almond, Tropical Almond Tree, or Java Almond, is a large tree up to 40 m in height that grows mainly in Asia, Africa, and Australia. It is deciduous with its trunk, can either be straight or twisted, often buttressed up to 3 m tall. The leaves are long, smooth, shiny, and turn red then fall off twice a year. Greenish-white flowers are in a spike at the end of branches. The edible fruits are fibrous, with a tender skin and a thin layer of subacid juicy flesh. They are green and turn red upon ripening. Various plant parts are used medicinally to treat dysentery, leprosy, coughs, jaundice, indigestion, headaches, colic, pain and numbness, fever, diarrhea, sores, skin diseases, diabetes, etc. The seeds can be either raw or cooked. It contains oil and are high in zinc content. The oil can be used in cooking and in making soap. The trunk is a source of gum and yellow and black dye. Likewise, fruits yield black dye. The wood, though susceptible to termite attacks, is moderately hard, moderately heavy, strong, and somewhat durable. It is used for cabinet work, construction, boat, bridges, floors, panelling, boxes and crates, and others. A fast growing species, T. catalpa is grown from seeds.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Terminalia catappa is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 35 m (114ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Terminalia intermedia Bertero ex Spreng. Terminalia latifolia Blanco Non Sw. Terminalia mauritiana B

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Gum  Oil

Seed - raw or cooked[46 , 303 ]. The almond-flavoured seeds can be eaten out of hand or roasted[301 ]. They can be chopped and added to cookies, bread mixes, dessert fillings, sweets, soups and stews[301 ]. The seed contains about 50% oil[63 ]. The seed is 3 - 4 cm long, 3 - 5 mm thick and enclosed in a thick shell that is difficult to crack[63 , 324 ]. The seeds are a rich source of zinc[658 ]. The seeds yield 38 - 54% of a colourless, bland tasting yellow semi-drying oil that is used in cooking[46 , 301 ]. Rather similar to almond oil, but less prone to become rancid[63 , 301 , 345 , 451 ]. The fruits have a tender skin and a thin layer of subacid juicy flesh[301 ]. It is often fibrous and not very tasty in spite of the pleasant smell[303 ]. The sweetish, fibrous flesh is palatable when very young, and is usually liked by children[307 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidiarrhoeal  Antidiarrhoeal  Antirheumatic  Antitussive  Astringent  Diaphoretic  Dysentery  Emetic  
Febrifuge  Galactogogue  Laxative  Leprosy  Skin  Tonic  Vermifuge

Various parts of the tree, such as the leaves and fruit, contain tannins and are astringent[303 , 459 ]. The leaves, crushed with Dacrydium elatum and rhizomes of Cyperus rotundus, are combined to treat dysentery[303 ]. The red leaves act as a vermifuge, while the sap of young leaves, cooked with oil from the kernel, is used to treat leprosy[303 ]. The juice of the leaves is ingested for coughs[311 ]. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat jaundice[311 ]. The leaves are used to treat indigestion[311 ]. The young leaves are used to cure headaches and colic[303 ]. Externally, the leaves may be rubbed on breasts to cure pain or, when heated, may be applied to numb parts of the body[303 ]. They may be used as a dressing for swollen rheumatic joints[303 ]. The leaves, applied to the head and sides, are refreshing and sudorific[582 ]. Leaves, bark and fruit are used to treat yaws[303 ]. The bark and root bark are useful for bilious fever, diarrhoea, thrush, and as a remedy for sores and abscesses[303 , 311 ]. The fluid from the bark is used to treat diabetes and as a tonic[311 ]. An infusion of the bark is used to treat stomach ache and also as an emetic for infants[311 ]. Externally, the bark is used to treat sores, pimples and fungal skin diseases[311 ]. The kernel of the fruit mixed with beeswax stops putrid exudation and bloody faeces. It is recommended as a mild laxative and a galactagogue for women, but too frequent use causes diarrhoea[303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Containers  Dye  Fodder  Furniture  Gum  Ink  Mulch  Oil  Soil conditioner  Soil stabilization  Tannin  Wood

Seaside tree. Public open space. Xerophytic. Agroforestry Uses: The tree's vast root system binds together both sands and poor soils. It has a heavy leaf fall and so is a good provider of mulch for the protection of the soil[303 ]. It is a promising species for the reforestation of sandy areas[303 ]. Planting the tree can help eradicate Imperata cylindrica and other unwanted aggressive grasses[303 ]. Other Uses The trunk is a source of gum[303 ]. The oil from the seed is used for making soap, but its industrial use is limited by the difficulty in extracting the kernel[324 ]. Bark, leaves, roots and fruit are all important sources of tannin with the astringent bark containing 9 - 23% tannin[46 , 303 ]. The outer shell is also rich in tannin. It is used in leather preparation and as a base for inks; sometimes the roots and fruits are used for the same purposes[303 ]. A black dye that is used to make ink is extracted from the bark and fruit[146 , 307 ]. A yellow-green dye is obtained from the leaves[307 ]. The trunk is a source of yellow and black dye[303 ]. Wood chips soaked in water give a yellow colour[721 ]. A black dye is obtained from the fruit[46 ]. The heartwood varies from light to dark brown to reddish brown, and often with irregular darker and lighter belts; it is not clearly demarcated from the lighter coloured sapwood. The texture is fine to coarse, the grain crossed and often curly and twisted. The wood is moderately hard; moderately heavy; strong and pliable; somewhat durable, but very susceptible to termite damage. It seasons well and works easily. A good quality timber, it is used for cabinet wook, furniture and for the construction of buildings, boats, bridges, floors, panelling, boxes, crates, planks, carts, wheelbarrows, barrels and water troughs[146 , 303 , 307 , 451 , 459 , 721 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Fodder: Insect  Management: Standard  Minor Global Crop  Staple Crop: Protein-oil

Plants grow best in the lowland tropics at elevations below 800 metres[303 ]. It grows best in areas where the mean maximum and minimum annual temperatures are within the range 21 - 32°c, though it can tolerate 10 - 36°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 3,400mm, though can tolerate from 700 - 4,200mm[418 ]. Succeeds in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny position[200 ]. Prefers sands and loamy sands, though it also does well on silts, loam, and even clays if the drainage is good[303 ]. Tolerates saline soils[324 ]. Prefers soil that are neutral to moderately alkaline and rich in bases, however it will also grow in strongly acid soils[303 ]. A particularly useful plant for coastal gardens, being tolerant of salt spray[200 , 303 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 7, but tolerates 4.3 - 8[418 ]. Plants are fast growing, often in excess of 1 metre a year when young[303 ]. Trees can yield two crops a year in some areas, and in places have been known to exhibit more or less continuous fruiting[324 ]. A tree may yield around 5 kg of kernels per year[324 ]. There has been some selection in cultivating forms with larger seeds[451 ]. The tree sheds its leaves all at once, quite suddenly, usually twice a year (January or February and July or August). Unlike most tropical trees, the leaves turn first yellow, then vivid red before falling, giving a well-marked 'autumn colour'[451 ]. The inconspicuous flowers have a sweet, delicate fragrance[200 ]. Various species of biting and stinging ants have been found inhabiting hollow twigs on this tree[407 ]. Flowering Time: Late Winter/Early Spring Mid Spring Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer Late Summer/Early Fall. Bloom Color: Cream/Tan Inconspicuous/none (white). Spacing: 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m).

Carbon Farming

  • Fodder: Insect  Plants grown for useful fodder insects.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.
  • Staple Crop: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in cold water[303 ]. About 70% of ripe seed germinate in about 20 days[303 ]. Seeds remain viable for a long time and germinate readily, even after floating in water for long distances[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

aua, Adamarram, Ai-kalesi, Alita, Alite, Almendro, Arete, Arite, As, Autera'a, Badam, Badamuchettu, Bang, Bangla-badam, Beydaan, Chambak barang, Coastal almond, Dalisai, Deshi badam, Deshibadam, Fetau, Grahadruma, Harman, Hu-kwang, Kadoru, Kal, Kalihu, Kalisai, Kamani haole, Kamani, Kauariki, Kauriki, Kel, Ketapang, Koa'i'i, Kodal, Kotal, Kotamba, Kotang, Kottai, Kungu, Lenga, Lingtak, Mai'i, Malabar almond, Miich, Mkungu, Myrobalan, Naklise, Natapoa, Natvadom, Nyia nyingaa, Oko, Salisa, Selie, Ta pang, Talasai, Talia suka, Talie, Talima, Talisai, Talisai, Talisay, Talise, Talisi, Tamanu, Tangie, Taraire, Tatalise, Tavola lato, Tavola, Tavola tivi, Te kunikun, Telie, Tepop, Tipop, Tropical almond, Vedam, White bombway, Yalisai, abrofo nkatie, almendro, almendro de la india, almenron, almond-indian, amandier, amandier de gambie, amendoeira, amendoeira-da-india, amendoeira-da-índia, badam, badamier, bastard almond, beach almond, bengal almond, bodanmyen, castanhola, chapéu-de-sol, country-almond, ebelebo, gerte tutab, hamánasi, indian almond, indian-almond, indischer mandelbaum, katappenbaum, malabar almond, malabar-almond, mhandaya, mkungu, sea almond, sea-almond, singapore almond, talisay tree, talisay tree, umbrella tree|kottamba / kottan, tropical almond, tropical-almond, tropisk mandel, umbrella tree, west indian almond, white bombwe, zanmande.

Africa, Andamans, Antigua & Barbuda, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Caribbean, Central Africa, Central America, China, Cook Islands, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Africa, East Timor, Fiji, FSM, Gabon, Ghana, Guiana, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia*, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Lesser Antilles, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Marquesas, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Nicaragua, New Caledonia, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, Polynesia, Ponape, Puerto Rico, Samoa, SE Asia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Society Islands, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South America, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Suriname, Tahiti, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Virgin Islands, West Africa, West Indies, Yap.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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