West Indian almondsThe West Indian almond (Terminalia L. catappa) is thought to be native to the Andaman Islands, the Malay Archipelago and New Guinea. The tree was introduced to the West Indies in the 19th century which has fully appropriated it. Today the fruit is even called the West Indian almond.

Today, it is found everywhere in Martinique, both in the gardens of the inhabitants of the island and in more forested and uninhabited areas. It is a tree that is found on certain beaches in the Caribbean or near roads mainly for the shade provided by its large leaves. It is a tree that prefers sandy soils.

Children love to have fun breaking the pits to eat the small edible almond inside.


West Indian almond treeThe number of varieties is unknown.

The West Indian almond tree is found throughout the tropics nowadays. It could not exist in temperate zones since it cannot stand frost and needs heavily watered soil. In some corners of the globe, especially Africa and the Indian Ocean, it is called Badamier and the fruit, “noix de badame (meaning badame nut).

The tree can reach 25 meters high and serves as good protection against direct sunlight.

Its leaves are large and turn red then yellow or orange before falling to its branch during the dry season. The fruit oval and slightly flattened is about 4-5 cm long and 2-3 wide. It is green and becomes slightly yellow and then red when mature. We must break the thick bark to reach the edible part. The oil and sweet almond has a taste that is similar to that of hazelnuts.

Fruit is produced slightly throughout the year, whatever the season. It is the same for flowering.

Health benefits

Almond has many medicinal properties. A decoction of the leaves is used in some countries to fight against hypertension and urinary tract infections (UTL). The extracts of leaves showed a confirmed hepatoprotective activity.

All parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine against dysentery, diarrhea, joint inflammation and to treat cough, stress, bronchitis and asthma.

The fruit can aid in the treatment of leprosy (with palm oil), cure headaches or reduce nausea during travel.

Indian researchers have shown that the seeds of the West Indian almond have an aphrodisiac power and that they could be used in the treatment of sexual problems like premature ejaculation!


West Indian almondsThe fruit is eaten raw by breaking the crust or grilled before being broken bark. Note that the leaves can be used in the aquarium to cure tropical fish or antiseptic when they are immersed in an aquarium.