What Is Tagua?

 
Tagua is a nut that comes from the Phytelepas Aequatorialis tree, which is a species of the palm tree family. The trees grow several pods which eventually fall off the tree and in each pod there are 4 to 8 nuts. Below is a picture of one of these picturesque pods.
 
 
The nuts once dry from the sun harden and resemble ivory. This is why tagua is also known as vegetable ivory and where the name Rainforest Ivory came from.  Below is a picture that shows the nuts that are inside each pod.
 
 
This material is unique because it is harder than tropical hardwoods.  In addition to the purity of white ivory, each tagua nut has a unique grain structure. Although it is hard to compare wood and vegetable ivory, the grain structure of vegetable ivory sometimes resembles African Mahogany or  Birdseye Maple.  Below is a picture of one of our favorite designs, the Key Lime Pie Wine Stopper.