Other names: Story Tree, Sea Almond, Tavola Nut
Botanical name: Terminalia catappa (Combretaceae)
THE TREE OFFERING PROTECTION, FOOD, MEDICINE AND RHYTHMS
Tropical Almond is like a beautiful natural parasol! The tree is originally from Asia, but has spread all around the tropics of the world. The charmingly colorful Tropical Almond can reach 20 m (65 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in trunk diameter. During its first years, the tree grows approximately 1 m (3 ft) per year. The branches grow at regular distances at a 90 degree angle from the straight trunk. The lower branches form an even roof under the tree-top. The big leaves are not only used for protection from the tropical sun, but also as wrapping and conservation paper! The different parts of Tropical Almond have several medicinal effects. Furthermore, the wood is utilized to manufacture furniture, canoes and drums.
THE SHY FLOWERS Ė THE DELICIOUS FRUITS
The tree usually starts blooming and bearing fruit after only three years from planting. The tiny white flowers are arranged in long axillary spikes. The fruits of Tropical Almond are delicious and can be eaten straight from the tree. Both the fruit flesh and the nut are edible. The nuts are also tasty when dried or smoked and are used in the Philippines to make wine. The nuts are said to have an aphrodisiac effect.
THE TREASURES OF THE MEDICAL KIT OF THE JUNGLE
The leaves, bark and fruits of Tropical Almond are important ingredients of traditional medicine. The leaves are in great demand globally in medicinal use. The bark and leaf tea is used to treat diarrhea, as young leaves relieve headaches and heal oral infections. The leaves can also be warmed in order to apply them on muscles or joints to relieve pain. A ripened fruit is said to help alleviate travel sickness.