tagua

Botanic Notables: Ivory of the Rainforest

June 29, 2012
Submitted by admin

When first harvested, seeds of the Phytelephas aequatorialis tree are white, though you might be more familiar with them as brightly-colored baubles in your jewelry box. Tagua (pronounced tog-wah) nuts, or "ivory of the rainforest," from the Ecuadorean Ivory Palm, are a sustainable alternative to elephant ivory. The seeds are hard and smooth, as well as being easy to carved and dye. They are lustrous as Bakelite and smooth as ceramic, with a chromatic depth I associate with silk or the complex grain of walnut wood.