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Tonka bean
Tonka Beans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Dipterygeae
Genus: Dipteryx
Species: D. odorata
Binomial name
Dipteryx odorata
(Aubl.) Willd.

Coumarouna odorata Aubl.
Coumarouna tetraphylla (Benth.) Aubl.
Dipteryx tetraphylla Benth.

The Tonka Bean is the seed of Dipteryx odorata, a legume tree in the neotropics, of the Fabaceae family. The plant has its origin in Northern South America (Guyana, Orinoco region). Today, main producers of the seeds are Venezuela and also Nigeria.

The seed is black and wrinkled in appearance, with a smooth brown interior. Its fragrance is reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, cinnamon, and cloves. It had been used as a vanilla substitute, as a perfume, and in tobacco before being banned in some countries. It is featured in some French cuisine, particularly in desserts and stews.

Its use in food is banned in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration.[1] The seed contains the anticoagulant coumarin, which can be lethal in large doses. Many anticoagulant prescription drugs, such as warfarin, are based on coumarin.


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