The Sandbox Tree Spreads Its Seeds Via What Mechanism?
The Sandbox Tree, formally known as Hura crepitans, has a rather unique method of seed distribution. While most trees limit themselves to such pedestrian distribution methods as dropping their seeds on the ground, releasing them to blow on the wind, or wrapping them in something delicious to tempt animals into eating them and providing free transportation and fertilization, the Sandbox Tree goes about the process in an entirely more dramatic way: its fruit explodes.
The seed pods of the Sandbox Tree undergo a process known as explosive dehiscence wherein the pod explodes and shoots the flat spearhead-like seeds out at speeds of up to 160 miles per hour (70 meters per second) and distances of up to 330 feet (100 meters). The explosion of the ripe pods is loud enough to have earned the Sandbox Tree the nickname of “dynamite tree”.
If the Sandbox Tree sounds dangerous, the list hardly stops there. In addition to exploding seed pods, the tree is covered in sturdy spikes (its other nickname is the “monkey-no-climb” as it’s rare to see a monkey anywhere near it) and the poisonous sap is harvested for various purposes like poisoning arrow tips and fishing spears.
Image by Hans Hillewaert.