Enterolobium cyclocarpum  (Jacq.) Griseb. – Large ear pod; Guanacaste  – Fabaceae

Oxyrhynchus trinervius  (Donn.Sm.)Rudd – Fabaceae

The shiny black fruits of this canopy tree of Central and tropical South America, the guanacaste, Enterolobium cyclocarpum, are shaped like an earlobe.  Each contains 11-20 seeds.  On each side of the seed is a light-colored oval line that gives the seed the appearance of a distinctive brown eye.

The Costa Rican province of Guanacaste is named for this tree, whose common name in Nahuatl means “ear tree.”  Though it is an inland species and has little salt tolerance, its fruits are carried by rivers and may travel far from where they grow.  Its attractive seeds are widely used in jewelry in Central America.