Tagua ("tah-gwa"), also called ivory nut or vegetable ivory, are primarily the nuts of the Tagua palm tree (Phytelephas macrocarpa) that grow in tropical rainforests. Other palms of the same subfamily also produce ivory nuts. The size of the seed varies from the size of a cherry to a tennis ball, the average size being that of a plum. The nut has a dark brown, bark-like skin. The natural color of tagua is ivory white and resembles the finest animal ivory in texture and color but can vary to an ivory-amber. It is close grain and very hard, but is more dense and resilient than that of elephant ivory and similar in durability. There is usually a void in the center of the nut. When ripe the nuts fall to the ground and are gathered and dried from four to eight weeks after which they become extremely hard. The nut is not toxic.
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