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Enterolobium cyclocarpum

Guanacaste , Guanacaste

Description: This majestic tree, known particularly in the dry forest of Guanacaste, Costa Rica is recognized for its elegant, tall, wide spreading canopy that exposes its branches and leaf structure. The grey trunk can be a smooth but usually has fissures and lenticels.  The small twice compound leaves fold at night and have a fern-like feel. The flower is visually inconsequential but is very fragrant.  Its unique seedpod is  called “monkey ear” by the locals.  The Guanacaste, famous as the national tree of Costa Rica, is truly beautiful claiming a myriad of uses for nature and man.

Benefits/Desirability: This beautifully streaked hard-wood is often used for furniture. The wood has been used for oxcart wheels, posts and firewood. The seeds have been incorporated into attractive jewelry. The sap from the tree has been used in folk medicine to treat bronchitis, while its green fruit has been used to treat diarrhea. Chemical compounds, saponins found in the bark and pods, cause this to be a soap substitute and also a spermicidal agent.

Plant Characteristics

Dimensions at Maturity
  • Height: 65 to 82 ft
  • Trunk Diameter: 2 to 6 ft

January through May 


 The flower is a  small, white, ball-shaped flower. It is less than an inch in size (1.5-2  cm)

Bloom Cycle
February through April 

Additional Information

Aesthetic Combinations

This tree has beautiful attributes from its fern- like leaves, broad canopy to its strong but elegant trunk structure. It is highly desirable in park settings and open spaces creating a wonderful space to rest and find refuse from the sun. &a

Natural Associations

 Its fruits and seeds attracts many animals besides moths and beetles which are attracted to the flowers. Livestock and other wildlife including Amazon parrots eat the fruit and seeds. Seen in open pastures, along roadsides ripari


This lovely tree needs room to grow. Because it drops seeds, leaves and twigs this requires clean-up near houses or pools. Saw dust from the Guanacaste Tree if dumped into the rivers may be toxic to fish and livestock downstream. 

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