Kokum is native to the western coastal regions of southern India and is rarely grown or utilized beyond this region. It is a tropical and evergreen, related to the mangosteens, a slender tree with sloping branches. When fully grown, it can reach 15 metres in height, with a dense canopy of green leaves and red-tinged, tender, emerging leaves. The thin bark is lined and the leaves oblong, with round,sticky, dark purple fruit about 4 centimetres in diameter with 5 – 8 seeds. The fruits are picked when ripe, the rind is then removed and soaked in the juice of the pulp and then sun-dried. It is usually available as a dried rind, resembling a thick plum skin. When added to food it imparts a pink to purple colour and sweet/sour taste. Its bouquet is slightly sweet and sour, with a refreshing sour taste that is slightly astringent. Kokum is also well known to counteract heat, and used as a refrigerant for culinary and medicinal purposes.