sandbox tree

sandbox tree

noun
a tropical American tree, Hura crepitans, of the spurge family, bearing a furrowed, roundish fruit about the size of an orange that when ripe and dry bursts with a sharp report and scatters the seeds.

Origin:
1740–50

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sandbox tree
 
n
a tropical American euphorbiaceous tree, Hura crepitans, having small woody seed capsules, which explode when ripe to scatter the seeds: formerly used to hold sand for blotting ink

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

sandbox tree

either of two species of large trees (Hura crepitans and H. polyandra) in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). They are among the largest trees of tropical America and are interesting for their pumpkin-shaped seed capsules that explode with a loud report, scattering the seeds. Sandbox trees are sometimes grown as boulevard trees but have disadvantages in their poisonous leaves, bark, and seeds and the explosions of their capsules, which have force enough to injure persons or livestock. H. crepitans is native through most of tropical America; H. polyandra, with white rather than red stamen clusters, is native from Mexico to Costa Rica. It is nearly 30 m (100 feet) tall with a girth of more than 1 m (3.3 feet). The trunk is studded with short, conical prickles. The long-stalked, dark-green leaves cover a round-crowned, high-branching tree. The globose seed capsules, grooved into 15 sections, are 7.6 cm (3 inches) in diameter and were used in colonial British West Indies as sandboxes for blotting ink. Some Mexican groups mix the poisonous latex with sand to stupefy fish

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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