Sandbox Trees

The Sandbox tree (Hura crepitans) is an evergreen tree with a huge, spiny trunk. A common name for the Sandbox tree is 'Monkey no-climb' based on its spiny trunk. which obviously makes it a bit challenging to climb up to. It's also been known as the 'Dynamite tree' because of the loud sound it makes when its ripe fruit splits into segments.


Sandbox trees can grow to 100 ft, and the large ovate leaves grow to two feet wide. The red flowers have no petals but tale flowers grow on long spikes; female flowers are solitary in axils. When ripe, pods catapult the seeds as far as 300ft. It has also been known as the Dynamite tree, so named for the explosive sound of the ripe fruit as it splits into segments.


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.


On the island of Barbados, this tree can be found planted in gullies across the island but can also be found in Barbadian gardens as a means of providing shade. The soil preference for the Sandbox tree is one that is wet with partial shade or exposure to full sunlight.


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