The Earpod Tree is a large, deciduous tree with a broad, spreading, umbrella-shaped canopy and a short, stout trunk with smooth, pale gray bark. It has large, feathery, medium green leaves and hemispherical clusters of whitish flowers. The pods are dark brown, smooth and contorted into an ear-like shape. The pods contain saponins and are used as a soap substitute. It is also known as the Monkey Earpod Tree, the Elephant Earpod Tree and the Pacara Earpod Tree. It has an open, airy canopy that gives light shade. The trunks grow up to 5 feet in diameter and the tree itself can be up to 115 feet in height. Large individuals of this species can become large, magnificent trees. It is harvested from the wild for its lightweight wood and as a medicinal plant. It is a pioneer species and like many pioneer tree species, it has a fast rate of growth. It is drought tolerant. Native to tropical America. It is tolerant of light frosts and is widely grown in subtropical and tropical regions. It is grown as a shade tree, an ornamental tree, a street tree and for reforestation.
- Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat.
- Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours.
- Put a mixture of potting soil and sand or perlite into a pot with drainage holes in the base.
- Sow the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a layer of soil that is 0.5 inches thick.
- Water the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not wet.
- The seeds take 2-4 weeks to germinate.
- When the plants are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.