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Toxic sap protects tree seeds: hura tree


Sandbox tree / Hans Hillewa.. / LicenseCC-by-sa - Attribution Share Alike

The fruit of Hura trees is protected from predators by a highly toxic sap.

"The hura tree protects its explosive fruits with a sap so toxic that it will raise great red welts if it touches human skin and even blind those who get it into their eyes. The macaws, however, are not put off. Long before the fruits are ripe, the birds rip them apart, pods, seeds and all, and then, after a meal that would have poisoned others, they fly to particular places on a river bank where they can gnaw out and swallow a special clay which detoxifies their meal." (Attenborough 1995:32-35)
About the inspiring organism
Med_799pxhura_crepitans Hura crepitans
Hura crepitans L.

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

IUCN Red List Status: Unknown

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Biological pest control product.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Agriculture

Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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