Tagua Nuts

Tagua Nut

I bet most of you have never heard of this South American nut known as the Tagua nut. 

This strange sounding nut is from the South American rainforest. There are a few South American palm trees that produce the tagua nut or some variety of it, but the most important one is the Phytetephas aequatorialis, better known as the ivory-nut palm.
The tagua nut refers to the large fruits inside the large hard shell.  The tagua nuts inside the shell resemble ivory, hence the name ivory nuts.  The ivory-nut palm is found along the tropical rivers and rainforests of Panama, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.  In Ecuador the tagua nut is found mainly along the Napo River of the Amazon.

A frog carved from a tagua nut.

The tagua nut varies in size. 

The palm tree itself can grow to nearly 30 feet, while the nuts vary in size. Various sizes of tagua nuts are found in Ecuador, from the size of an olive to a small orange can be seen throughout the country.  However, a tagua nut about the size of a walnut is the most common.

The tagua nut is big business in Ecuador’s tourism and souvenir industries.

Where crafts people carve up this ivory type of trinket into wonderful pieces of art and masterpieces. With the ivory like texture of these wonderful little gifts, you can be sure that you will find many different types of carved up Tagua nuts all over Ecuador and South America. Beautiful colorful jewelry in the form mainly of necklaces offer a unique type of gift you can take back with you after visiting Ecuador or one of the other South American countries mentioned above.
If you know of an excellent place in Ecuador that sells these beautiful handicrafts, please email me or leave a comment.
For more reading on the tagua nut please visit Tagua Nut Ivory.

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