Author: Jan Scholten
Name: Phytelephas means elephant plant.
English: Ecuadorian ivory palm; endosperm is white hemicellulose material, hard, can be polished and carved like ivory.
Use: Ecuadorean vegetable ivory or tagua, a botanical alternative to ivory.
Botany: habitat tropical rainforests; woody trunk, to 20 m high; leaves very long, pinnate; dioecious, female individuals; fruits large like a grapefruit, brown, conical, covered in a horned husk, with 4 seeds; seeds dispersed by rainforest rodents, immature seeds contain sweet edible pulp, mature seeds are harder than wood and are encased in a bonelike shell.