SelecTree: Tree Detail

OPIUMA
Pithecellobium dulce

Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce Pithecellobium dulce

Photo Locations: Kona and Oahu, HI

General Notes

This plant is weedy. We do not recommend planting it in Hawai’i.

This fast-growing tree thrives on a variety of soils in dry, sunny, leeward coasts to moist valleys and windward slopes. The wood is used for posts, rough construction, and fuel, and the bark yields gums, dyes, and tannins. The fruit pulp is eaten and used to make a beverage, as well as fodder for livestock. Several parts of the tree are used medicinally. ‘Opiuma was imported to the Islands in the late 1800s and became naturalized by birds spreading the black seeds by the early 20th century. It has now invaded a number of areas on the leeward side of islands. People believed the small back seeds, which are used in leis, looked like opium, so the Hawaiian name for this tree became ‘opiuma. Pithecellobium dulce has a HPWRA (Hawai'i Pacific Weed Risk Assessment) score of 14 (High Risk).

Has thorns.

Native to Mexico and Central America.

Family: Fabaceae

Additional Common Names

MANILA TAMARIND, OPIUMA, MONKEYPOD, BLACKBEAD, SWEET INGA, MADRAS THORN, HUAMUCHE

Tree Characteristics

Erect or Spreading Low or High Canopy.

Rounded Shape.

Has Evergreen foliage.

Height: 20 - 30 feet.

Width: 15 - 25 feet.

Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.

Longevity 50 to 150 years.

Leaves Pinnately Compound with Paired Leaflets, Light Green, No Change, Evergreen.

Flowers Inconspicuous. White. Flowers in Spring. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).

Prolific, Red Legume, Very Large (Over 3.00 inches), fruiting in Spring or Summer Edible.

Bark Brown, Rough or Scaly.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate in Leaf.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones H1, H2.

USDA Hardiness Zones 10 - 11.

Exposure Full Sun.

Moist to Dry Soil.

Drought tolerant.

Clay, Loam or Sand Texture.

Slightly Acidic to Slightly Alkaline Soil pH.

Salinity Tolerance is Good Inland.

Seaside Tolerance is Medium.

Special Uses & Values

Street Tree.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Pithecellobium dulce Tree Record." 1995-2020. Aug 14, 2020.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/pithecellobium-dulce >

This tree is not part of the SelecTree Nursery Connection. If you would like to see this tree listed, or know of a nursery that sells it, please contact us at ufei@calpoly.edu.