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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Dipteryx \Dipteryx\ n. a genus of tropical American trees which produce a black seed called the tonka bean.

Syn: Coumarouna, genus Coumarouna, genus Dipteryx.


Dipteryx is a genus containing nine species of shrubs and trees. It belongs to the "papillionoid" subfamily – Faboideae – of the legume family ( Fabaceae). This genus is native to South and Central America and the Caribbean. Formerly, the related genus Taralea was included in Dipteryx.

The largest members of Dipteryx are canopy-emergent tree of tropical rainforests. The Tonka Bean (C. odorata) is grown for its fragrant seeds. Baru (Dipteryx alata) is a Vulnerable species from the Cerrado of Brazil; its fruit and seeds are used as food and fodder. Several species are used for timber.