Tonka bean

Tonka bean


image_width = 250px
image_caption = Tonka Beans
name = Tonka bean
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Fabales
familia = Fabaceae
subfamilia = Faboideae
tribus = Dipterygeae
genus = "Dipteryx"
species = "D. odorata"
binomial = "Dipteryx odorata"
The tonka bean is the seed of "Dipteryx odorata", a legume tree in the neotropics, of the Fabaceae family. The seed is black and wrinkled in appearance, with a smooth brown interior. It is known mostly for its fragrance, which is reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, cinnamon, and cloves: it has sometimes been used commercially as a substitute for vanilla. It is also sometimes used in perfume and was commonly used in tobacco before being banned.

The seed contains coumarin, which can be lethal in large doses. For this reason its use in food is banned in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many anti-coagulant prescription drugs are based on more powerful forms of coumarin.

The plant has its origin in Northern South America (Guyana, Orinoco region). Main producers today are Venezuela and also Nigeria.

External links

* [ CFR Title 21, section 189.130] Code of Federal Regulations section prohibiting coumarin and tonka beans
* [ Spice Pages: Tonka Beans]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tonka bean — Bean Bean (b[=e]n), n. [OE. bene, AS. be[ a]n; akin to D. boon, G. bohne, OHG. p[=o]na, Icel. baun, Dan. b[ o]nne, Sw. b[ o]na, and perh. to Russ. bob, L. faba.] 1. (Bot.) A name given to the seed of certain leguminous herbs, chiefly of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tonka bean — Ton ka bean [Cf. F. onca, tonka.] (Bot.) The seed of a leguminous tree ({Dipteryx odorata}), native of Guiana. It has a peculiarly agreeable smell, and is employed in the scenting of snuff. Called also {tonquin bean}. [Written also {tonca bean},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tonka-bean — /tongˈkə bēnˈ/ noun 1. (also tonga bean /tongˈgə /, tonquin bean /tongˈkēn /) the coumarin scented seed of a large papilionaceous tree (genus Dipteryx) of Guiana, used for flavouring snuff, etc 2. The tree from which it comes ORIGIN: Local name …   Useful english dictionary

  • tonka bean — [täŋ′kə] n. [prob. < Tupí name in Guiana] 1. the fragrant, almond shaped seed of any of several South American leguminous trees (genus Dipteryx) used in perfumes, drugs, etc. 2. the tree …   English World dictionary

  • tonka-bean — kvapioji tongapupė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Pupinių šeimos dažinis, prieskoninis, vaistinis augalas (Dipteryx odorata), paplitęs Pietų Amerikoje. Naudojamas maisto priedams (kvėpikliams, vanilės pakaitalui) gaminti, iš jo gaunamas… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • tonka bean — Dipteryx Dipteryx n. a genus of tropical American trees which produce a black seed called the {tonka bean}. Syn: Coumarouna, genus {Coumarouna}, genus {Dipteryx}. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tonka bean — /ˈtɒŋkə bin/ (say tongkuh been) noun 1. the fragrant, black, almond shaped seed of a tall leguminous tree, Dipteryx odorata, of tropical South America, used in perfumes and snuff. 2. the tree itself. {? Galibi tonka + bean} …   Australian-English dictionary

  • tonka bean — ton·ka bean täŋ kə n the seed of any of several leguminous trees of the genus Dipteryx that contains coumarin and is used in perfumes and as a flavoring also a tree bearing tonka beans * * * 1. Dipteryx odorata. 2. the seed of D. odorata, which… …   Medical dictionary

  • tonka bean — n. the black fragrant seed of a South American tree, Dipteryx odorata, used in perfumery etc. Etymology: tonka, its name in Guyana, + BEAN …   Useful english dictionary

  • tonka bean — noun Etymology: Dutch tonka( boon) & Portuguese (fava )tonca, perhaps of Cariban origin Date: 1796 the coumarin containing seed of any of several tropical American leguminous trees (genus Dipteryx, especially D. odorata) that is used in perfumes… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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