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Sandbox Tree

The Sandbox tree , also known as Possumwood and Jabillo, is an evergreen tree of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), native to tropical regions of North and South America in Amazon Rainforest. It is recognized by the many dark, pointed spines and smooth brown bark. These spines have caused it to be called Monkey no-climb.

Sandbox trees can grow to 100 ft, and the large ovate leaves grow to two feet wide. They are monoecious. The red flowers have no petals. Male flowers grow on long spikes; female flowers are solitary in axils. The fruit is a large capsule with explosive dehiscence. When ripe, pods catapult the seeds as far as 100 meters . It has also been known as the Dynamite tree, so named for the explosive sound of the ripe fruit as it splits into segments.

This tree prefers wet soil, and partial shade or partial sun to full sun. It is often cultivated for shade.

Fishermen have been said to use the milky, caustic sap from this tree to poison fish. The Caribs made arrow poison from its sap.

The wood is used for furniture under the name "hura". Before more modern forms of pens were invented, the trees' unripe seed pods were sawed in half to make decorative pen sandboxes (also called pounce pots), hence the name 'sandbox tree'.

Hura crepitans is an additive to some forms of the hallucinogenic drink Ayahuasca.


File:Honolulu-GraceCooke-sandboxtree-full.JPG|Large sandbox tree in Honolulu

File:Hura crepitans Vietnam.jpg|Hura crepitans in Vietnam

File:Honolulu-sandboxtree-trunk.JPG|Spiny trunk of Hura crepitans

External links

Center for Wood Anatomy Research, details about the wood of the Sandbox tree

Sandbox tree page at the John C. Gifford Arboretum site (University of Miami)

University of Sao Paulo: Hura crepitans photos

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Sandbox Tree

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