Pithecellobium dulce

Accession Count: 3
Common Name: Guamuchil
Family Name: Fabaceae
Botanical Name: Pithecellobium dulce
Synonyms:
Botanical Synonyms: Feuilleea dulcis, Inga dulcis, Inga javana
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics:
Compound: Pit dul
Geographic Origin: Mexico
Ecozone Origin: Neotropic
Biome Origin:
Natural History:
The Guamuchil tree is a flowering plant that belongs to the Fabaceae family (1).  It is a fast-growing tree first introduced as a shade tree in dry lowlands and eventually became naturalized in many areas (2).  It is native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America (1).  The Guamuchil tree is now distributed outside its native range in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba, Hawaii, India and the Philippines as well as in areas where it is used as an ornamental (5).
Cultivation Notes:
Guamuchil is adaptable to a variety of soil types and habitats in the tropics and subtropics (4).  It grows rapidly and may produce large amounts of quickly germinating seeds that are dispersed by native birds (4).  Guamuchil can tolerate a wide range of soils including clays, rocky limestone soils, nutrient poor sands and soils with a high water-table (2).  It grows best in well drained and deep agricultural soils (2).  Guamuchil produces flowers at about two years of age; flowering generally occurs between December and May, fruits develop from February to August (2).  The flowers are grouped in small, dense, sub-spherical heads, 7-12 mm in diameter with 20-30 flowers per head (4).  The seeds are dispersed by birds that feed on the sweet seed pods.  It is drought resistant and can survive in dry landscapes, making Guamuchil suitable for cultivation in many areas (3).

Ethnobotany:

The seed pods contain a sweet pulp that can be eaten raw, roasted or prepared in a sweet drink similar to lemonade (3).  The wood is used for paneling, boxes, crates, wagon wheels, general construction, posts and fuel (2).  Guamuchil is also known as a good forage plant for honey bees (2).  In Asia Guamuchil is used as a source for various medicinal products, timber, tannins and dyes (2). Pods and leaves gathered from the plant clippings are fed to livestock such as horses, goats, camels, cattle and sheep (3).  In Haiti the fruit pulp is used to stop blood flow in cases of heamoptysis (3).  The seeds contain greenish oil that can be refined and bleached in order to make soap (3).  The bark of the plant is harvested for its high tannin content and use as a home remedy (5).  Extract from the Guamuchil twigs can be an effective treatment for tobacco mosaic virus (2).


Height: 20 - 50 feet
Width: 0 - 5 feet
Growth Rate: Fast Growing
Grow Season: Spring
Flower Season: Summer
Color: White
Function: Shade
Spread: Spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Invasive
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

Citations:
1. Guamúchil (Pithecellobium dulce). Retrieved on 8 December 2013.

2. Parrotta, J. (1991). Pithecellobium Dulce. USDA Forest Service.

3. Orwa, C., A, Mutua., Kindt, R., Jamnadass, R., S, Anthony. (2009) Agroforestree Database. Web. Retrieved on 8 December 2013.

4. Invasive Species Compendium. Retrieved on December 8, 2013.

5. ‘Opiuma. Retrieved on December 8, 2013.

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Pithecellobium dulce