Terminalia catappa


Family: Member of the Combretaceace family; other members include Antigua Whitewood (Bucida buceras)

Description: Large, handsome, fast growing tree, attaining height of about 22 m (72 ft.); branches spreading, often in layers; leaves 15-30 cm long (6-12 in.), leathery, turning a striking yellow or red before falling, leaves shed twice a year; malodorous flowers in 15 cm spikes (6 in.), are small and white; female flowers at base of inflorescence recognized by elongated inferior ovary that gives appearance of a longer pedicel; fruit 3.5-5 cm long (1.5-2 in.), somewhat like large almond, single seeded, with fine-flavored, edible kernel, yielding an edible oil, reportedly of excellent flavor.

Natural Habitat: Coastal regions of tropics and semi-tropics; propagation by seed, which remains viable for at least one year; germination in 2-4 weeks after planting.

Origin and Distribution: Tree originally from the E. Indies, now common in tropical and semi-tropical regions, especially along coasts.

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