Sandbox Tree, Hura crepitans

PhoPhot

Photo by Bob Thomas, Grand Rivere, Trinidad, November 2004.

Photo by Bob Thomas, Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad, June 2012.

Photo by Bob Thomas, Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad, June 2012.

Sandbox trees are a forest tree that grow to 200 feet.  Their numerous sharp spines on the bark protect them from predation, and earn them the nickname Monkey No Climb.

Their seed pods (above) use explosive dehiscence to spread the seeds as far as 330 feet.  They make such a loud noise when exploding that another nickname for this tree is dynamite tree.

The seeds, an open one shown above, are commonly found around the trees.  Since the side of the seed is shaped a bit like a bottlenose dolphin, artists clean them up and sell them as earrings.

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