Caesalpinia pectinata Cav.
Caesalpinia spinosa (Molina) Kuntze
Caesalpinia tara Ruiz & Pav.
Caesalpinia tinctoria (Kunth) Benth.
Caesalpinia tinctoria DC.
Coulteria tinctoria (Molina) Kunth
Poinciana spinosa Molina
Common Name: Algarobilla
Tara spinosa is a spiny, evergreen shrub or small tree with a spreading crown; it can grow 3 - 8 metres tall[
The plant is a very rich source of tannins and is commonly harvested from the wild and also cultivated, both for local use and for export. The plant also produces a food-grade gum, and has local uses as a dye and medicine. It is sometimes grown as a living fence.
The high tannin content of the pods may be lethal if consumed in large quantities by animals[
S. America - Argentina, northern Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela.
Forests and semi desert areas of the Interandine region, along the higher, cooler, inner slopes of both Cordilleras of Ecuador[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of higher elevations in the Andean mountains, it has been cultivated from the warm temperate to the very dry and seasonally wet tropics. It can grow in areas where the mean annual temperatures are within the range 14 - 28°c, and the mean annual rainfall is in the range 660 - 1,730mm[
Succeeds in full sun and partial sun[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.8 - 7.5[
A fast-growing plant[
Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
The endosperm of the seed (22% of the total seed weight) yields a gum of commercial value. It is a white to yellowish powder and consists chiefly of galactomannan-type polysaccharides. The gum is used as a thickening agent and stabilizer in the food industry[
The powder contained within the seedpods is used as an eyewash[
The plant is sometimes grown as a live fence in Peru[303.
The pods contain around 50% tannin, about twice as much as sumac (Rhus spp)[
]. The high content of hydrolysable tan has made it interesting for the extraction of gallic acid and ink manufacturing[
Sticks of the wood are split up finely; urine is poured over the pieces of wood, which are then set out in the sun. Urine is repeatedly poured over them, until they are well soaked. After airing, the sticks are boiled in water, together with red tiri (Stereoxylon resinosum) and woollen or cotton fabrics. The dye produced is a purplish red[
The dried fruit is boiled with a bit of soot and woollens soaked in iron sulphate or vitriol without acid. The fabric produced will be dyed a beautiful clove colour[
A gum is obtained from the seed. It is used in the food industry[
The wood is durable[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination[
]. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
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