The pithecellobium dulce is a tree that reaches a height of about 10-15 m. Its trunk is thorny and its leaves are bipinnate. Each fin has a single pair of oval-oblong leaflets about 2 to 4 cm long. The flowers are greenish-white, fragrant, sessile and reach about 12 cm in length, although they appear shorter because of the winding. The flowers produce a pod, which turns pink when ripe and opens to expose an edible pulp. The pulp contains black shiny seeds that are circular and flat.
The seeds contain a sweet and sour pulp that in Mexico is consumed raw as an accompaniment to various meat dishes and used as a base for drinks with sugar and water (‘agua de guamúchil’). The seeds are also edible and refined to extract the oil, which is equivalent to 10% of their weight. They also contain 28% of proteins.
The bark and the pulp are astringent and haemostatic. The indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica use the pulp and bark against gum disease, toothache and bleeding in general. A bark extract is also used against dysentery, chronic diarrhea and tuberculosis. An extract of the leaves is used for diseases of the gall and to prevent miscarriage. The ground seed is used to clean ulcers.
Tropical plant, does not tolerate winter frosts.
Grow in full sun.
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