Tropical almond (Terminalia catappa)
The Tropical Almond tree, also known as Indian Almond, Seas Almond Tree, and False Kamani, grows up to 35 meters (115 feet) tall. The tree has a smooth or grooved trunk and a symmetrical crown with horizontal branches and broad, glossy dark green leaves that are evergreen, leathery, 45 centimeters (18 inches) long, 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide, and very shiny. As the tree matures the crown flattens to form a vase shape. The tree branches are arranged in distinct tiers. The wood of the tree is red with a high water resistance.
The Tropical Almond’s leaves are are large measuring 6-10 inches long by 4-6 inches wide. The leaves turn pinkish red or yellow brown before falling. It has small, white to yellowish-green flowers produced on the separate stems as spikes. Its fruit is flat, 10 centimeters (4 inches) long, and not quite as wide. The almond-shaped fruit begins green, then yellow, and finally red or purplish red when ripe. The fruit contains a single seed surrounded by an inner layer of corky fiber.
Where to Find: This tree is usually found growing near the ocean on sandy shores. It is a common and often abundant tree in the Caribbean and Central and South America. It is also found in the tropical rain forests of southeastern Asia, northern Australia, and Polynesia.
Edible Parts: The seed (nut) is a good source of food and tastes like almonds. Remove the fleshy, green covering and eat the seed raw or cooked.
Other Uses: The water-proof nature of the tree’s wood makes the material ideal for canoes. Fallen leaves can be used as a medicine to treat liver diseases and a tea made from the leaves can be used as a cure for diarrhea.