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Enterolobium cyclocarpum facts for kids

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Enterolobium cyclocarpum
Árbol de Guancaste.jpg
Specimen in El Canchol, Jalisco Guanacaste (Costa Rica)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: 'Enterolobium'
Species: ''E. cyclocarpum''
Binomial name
Enterolobium cyclocarpum
(Jacq.) Griseb.

Several, see text

Enterolobium cyclocarpum, commonly known as guanacaste or elephant-ear tree, is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to tropical regions of the Americas. It is the national tree of Costa Rica.


The tree is known in English as elephant-ear tree, Devil's ear or Devil's ear.

Common names in some other languages are:

  • Spanish: guanacaste, árbol de las orejas, parota
  • French: bois tanniste rouge, oreille d'éléphant
  • German: Affenseife

Enterolobium cyclocarpum, the scientific name of the guanacaste tree was given by August Grisebach to this plant in 1864.


  • Albizia longipes Britton & Killip
  • Enterolobium cyclocarpa (Jacq.) Griseb.
  • Feuilleea cyclocarpa (Jacq.) Kuntze
  • Inga cyclocarpa' (Jacq.) Willd.
  • Mimosa cyclocarpa Jacq.
  • Mimosa parota Sesse & Moc.
  • Pithecellobium cyclocarpum (Jacq.) Mart.
  • Prosopis dubia Kunth
  • Prosopis dubia Guill. & Perr.


Frutos del carocaro
Fruits of guanacaste

The guanacaste is a large tree, growing to 20–30 m (66–98 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in diameter. The bark is light gray. The crown (the upper part of tree) is broad and widely spreading. Leaves are 15 to 50 cm (5.9 to 19.7 in) long, alternate and compound.

The guanacaste is evergreen, or briefly deciduous for 1–2 months during the dry season (without rains). Most leaves fall in December, at the start of the dry season. In late February, leaves start to appear and produce a fresh, thick crown by April.

Flowers are hermaphrodite; the pollination is by insects like bees.

The fruit is a legume (also known as a pod) with the shape of a human ear.

Where it grows

The guanacaste tree is native to tropical America. It grows from southern Mexico through Central America to northern South America. It is found also in the West Indies. It has been introduced in other tropical regions.

It grows normally at an elevation from sea level to 500 m (1,600 ft), usually along the coast and rivers.


The wood is reddish-brown, lightweight and water-resistant; it is used to make objects like doors, windows, furniture, cabinets, and for shipbuilding. It is used also as firewood.


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