Characteristics of Sandbox Tree (Hura crepitans) in the Wild

Hura crepitans
Sandbox tree or Possumwood is a type of the Euphorbiaceae family, native to tropical regions of North and South America including the Amazon rainforest.

In Indonesia, this tree is called Buah Roda because the fruit is similar to a wheel. In Central and East Java, it is known as the Tiger Nail Tree because the fruit contains bulkheads similar to tiger nails.

Sandbox trees are usually planted on roadsides as shade plants, ornamental trees, medicinal trees, and trees whose leaves are used for eco print purposes and are known as “Kalpataru”.

The tree is known to have medicinal uses, in Java, the powdered fruit is usually used to treat chronic labor. In Yogyakarta and Solo, the seeds are half-baked and then peeled or shaped into pills and mixed with honey as a laxative.

Other uses in Hawaii, Sandbox tree wood are used as building materials and packaging boxes. The bark and sap are used as a fish poison.

 

Characteristics of Sandbox Tree Leaf

Hura crepitans Leaf
Source : flickr.com/CANTIQ UNIQUE

Single leaf, stemmed, heart-shaped, and serrated leaf edges. This is one of the trees with leaves similar to the Bodhi Tree (Ficus religiosa) and Rumph’s Fig (Ficus rumphii).

 

Characteristics of Sandbox Tree Flower

Hura crepitans Flower
Source : flickr.com/Cerlin Ng

Male flowers are separated from female flowers. Male flowers grow with long spikes, while female flowers grow independently in axils.

 

Characteristics of Sandbox Tree Fruit

Hura crepitans Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Cerlin Ng

The fruit is round like wheels or tiger hooves that are grooved on the outside. Each fruit is 3-5 cm long and 5-8 cm in diameter.

Ripe fruit will explode in the trees and scatter the seeds around the base of the tree. It is said that the burst of its fruit can throw seeds up to 30 meters away. Because of this, this tree is also sometimes known as the Tree of Dynamite.

 

Characteristics of Sandbox Tree

Hura crepitans Tree
Source : flickr.com/Mohamed Bocoum

Sandbox tree can grow as a large tree with a height of 50 meters and a canopy width of approximately 10 meters. The stem has a milky white sap if wounded and has solid spines.

This tree prefers wet soil and shaded areas, although it can also grow in full sun.

 

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