(Detarium microcarpum)

A tree of sweet detar

Family: Fabaceae

Synonyms: Detarium senegalanse.

Other names: Tallow tree, dattok. bladi

Sweet datar is a leguminous tree from West Africa.  It is closely related to tamarind (Tamarindus indica).  This tree bears pods that that contains a sweet sour pulp which is popularly eaten by local people.

            There are two types of sweet datar trees, tall{upto 40 m) and small (5-10 m).  The tall type grows in the forests.  These have reddish pods containing yellow pulp which tastes somewhat bitter and therefore is not edible.  The small type of trees grows in savanna.  These have brownish pods and greenish pulp which tastes good and is eaten.  It is this type which should be cultivated at farms.

            Sweet datar is one of those fruits which have a scope for commercial cultivation.


A tall tree upto 36 m high with a relatively short unbuttressed bole upto about 13 m by 3 m girth, bearing a large crown.

           Leaves compound, 7-10 leaflets; 40-50 translucid points between 2 lateral veins.

Flowers of sweet detar


Although normally consumed out of hand, sweet detars are also processed in different localized ways. In northern Nigeria, to mention just one locale, they are mixed with other fruits  and boiled, strained, and concentrated into a sweetmeat resembling fruit leather.

Sweet detar fruits

            In Sierra Leone, they are made into refreshing drinks. One interesting feature: if a ripe fruit dries out, it can be revived by a soak in sugar water—the result being eaten as if it were freshly picked and the liquid being used separately as a fruity drink.

Sweet detar fruit is an outstanding source of vitamin C containing 1180 mg of this vitamin 1 100 g pulp.  This is nearly 40 times than found in orange.

            The kernels are edible and used by local people in many different ways.


Sweet detar is a very useful as well as a popularly used wild growing fruit from Africa.  The cultivation of this fruit should be encouraged.

            Sweet detar is a very multipurpose tree and it can used both as a horticultural as well as an agro forestry plant.