Hura crepitans Information

Hura crepitans, commonly known as the sandbox tree or dynamite tree, is a large tropical tree native to the Caribbean, Central, and South America. The tree can grow up to 60 meters (200 feet) tall and has distinctive spiny, buttress roots.

The name "sandbox tree" comes from the tree's large, spiky seed pods that resemble small sandboxes. These pods are about 10 centimeters (4 inches) in diameter and explode with a loud bang when they mature and split open, scattering their seeds up to 50 meters (165 feet) away. This explosive mechanism also gives the tree its other common name, the "dynamite tree."

The tree has a long history of medicinal and cultural uses. Its sap has been used to treat skin conditions and as a purgative, and its wood has been used for construction and to make tools. However, the sap and seeds of the tree are highly toxic and can cause severe skin irritation, blistering, and even blindness if ingested or contacted.

In addition to its medicinal and cultural uses, the tree has ecological importance as well. Its large, spiky trunk and roots provide shelter and protection for various species of animals, and its seeds are an important food source for many birds and mammals.

Despite its cultural and ecological importance, Hura crepitans is also considered an invasive species in some areas outside of its native range, where it can compete with and displace native vegetation.