Hura, sandbox-tree, or monkey-pistol, is native to the Antilles, Central America, and the northern half of South America. It reaches a height of 150 feet, with a trunk almost 10 feet in diameter. The trunk and branches of young trees are covered with blackish spines. The leaves are up to 8 inches long and have a petiole approximately the same length. The same tree produces male and female flowers; the former are grouped in an inflorescence reminiscent of a corn ear, the latter are solitary and trumpet-shaped. Fruits are capsules up to 3.5 inches wide, divided into some 15 sections that separate explosively to disperse the seeds. It flowers from winter to summer and the fruits mature during spring and summer. The generic name derives from a native South American name for the tree. The species name, and the Spanish name metralla, refer from the loud sound made when the seeds disperse.

The photographed tree is southwest of Building B, there's another tree northwest of the Band and Orchestra Department.


Hura crepitans (Euphorbiaceae)