ʻOpiuma (Pithecellobium dulce)

opiuma-pithecellobium dulce-manila tamarind-foraging-hawaii-maui-wild vegetable

‘Opiuma is in season, going strong, and will continue to be in season for the coming couple of months! This invasive species is typically found in our dryland areas of Hawai’i but, as many areas that are typically more wet become more dry, the tree is expanding its range. Do you know this one?


‘Opiuma (Pithecellobium dulce) has a spiny trunk as well as spines where the leaf and branch meet, and bipinnate leaves.

Also known as…

Manila tamarind, Madras thorn, camachile tree, blackbead, sweet Inga, sweet tamarind, bread-and-cheese, cuauhmochitl (Nahuatl), camachile/ guamúchil/ huamúchil/ huamuche/ guamuche (Mexico), chiminango/ payandé (Colombia), pinzán/ guamá americano (Puerto Rico), kamatsile/ kamachili (Philippines), monkeypod (not to be confused with Samanea saman), niu ti dou (China), campèche/ cassie de Manille (French Islands), pinikaral/ vilayati babul/ kodukkapuli (India), ma kham khong/ ma kham that (Thailand), me keo/ keo tây (Vietnam), and many others.


Pods ripen to pink.

In my May 11th in-person workshop, we will be carpooling out into the field to identify and wildcraft the pods, and then bring them back to a Wailuku location to process and do a cooking demo and tasting. Includes an organic lunch, and making your own forever lei with the seeds. You will also a receive a 10-page PDF plant monograph to keep; highlighting historical, botanical, medicinal and nutritional information. Details will be sent prior to workshop start.


Black seeds shown on the right are the seeds of ‘opiuma. This is a forever lei, lasting love from the ‘āina.

I will also be offering an online class covering all things Manila tamarind, which will be sent to you by May 15th, or immediately any time after that date you purchase.

opiuma-pithecellobium dulce-manila tamarind-foraging-hawaii-maui-wild vegetable

‘Opiuma illustration by Maile Risch, for Savage Farms.


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