Cumaru / Tonka Bean in bulk
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Dipteryx odorata

cumaru tree / tonka bean

plant overview
bitter flavor, sweet aroma

Tonka beans are the seed pods of a South American tree that belongs to the legume family of plants. Although tonka is used as a bitter flavoring agent in some parts of Europe, this use is prohibited in the U.S. The fragrance of tonka is another matter—sweet and warm, with a resemblance to the combined aromas of cinnamon, vanilla bean and almond. For this reason, tonka beans are prized for lending scent to various cosmetic preparations.

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Tonka bean
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information for cumaru tree (tonka bean)

Dipteryx odorata is a flowering tree species in the pea family, Fabaceae.

The tree can grow from 80 up to nearly 100 feet, its trunk gaining a diameter of over 3 feet. Its gray bark is smooth and the wood underneath is red. The tree's alternate pinnate leaves are leathery, glossy, and dark green with 3-6 leaflets. The tree's pink flowers bloom from March to May and each of its developed fruit contains only one seed which ripens until June or July.

common names & nomenclature
The moniker "tonka" is from the Galibi tongue spoken by French Guiana natives; it also appears as the name of the tree in Tupi, which is another language in the same region.

Also known as:
tonka bean, cumaru, tonguin bean, umaru, tonka, tonka bean tree, amburana, imburana de cheiro, tonquin bean, charapilla del murcielago, fèves de tonka, tonkabohne

Tonka Bean, the seed pods with bitter flavor but sweet aromas
Where in the World
habitat and range for the cumaru tree (tonka bean)

Dipteryx odorata is native to Guyana, Surinam and northern Brazil.

Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and cultivating cumaru (tonka bean)

The Cumaru tree (tonka bean) grows in humid, tropical dry to tropical wet forests in the shade.

The best growth is reached on fertile soils rich in humus.

Sow seed soon after ripening for best results, germination occurs in 4 weeks. Transplant seedlings to individual pots when larger enough and plant out the following summer.

The fresh fruits (bean pods) ripen until June and July when they are picked up, though fallen pods are harvested from January to March or sometimes earlier. The beans are spread out for 2–3 days to dry after the hard outer shell is removed.

Store dried tonka beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor,
especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.