You will find this tropical tree in the rainforest, usually on the edge of a river. The bark is greyish brown, and it eventually reaches 115 to 180 feet (35 m to 55 m) in height. Its leaves grow close together.
Andiroba [Carapa guianensis] sheds its leaves every year, and then sprouts tiny white flowers. Insects pollinate the tree, and during the flowering season the tree is covered in ants. Early in its development the tree has very large leaves, which decrease in size as the tree matures.
Seeds of the andiroba live inside small, woody pods. These pods have rounded edges and a triangular shape. Andiroba pods can float, and since these trees grow next to rivers, the pods that fall from the tree may float to an area where the seeds can take root. In countries from Central America, rodents and wild pigs like to eat the pods, and will take them away to horde for later. Those that don’t get eaten can grow into new trees.
Andiroba trees have multiple uses for humans. This tree is a member of the same family as mahogany, and its wood makes excellent lumber. Humans harvest this tree to make handsome furniture.
Residents of the Amazon use this tree to make medicine. Andiroba oil has anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. This oil also keeps the tree safe by working as an insect repellent – yet another property that makes andiroba oil valuable to humans. It has also been evaluated in scientific studies for its use in treating liver maladies.