Leitura: 3 min

In the heart of Inhotim

In the heart of Inhotim

One does not need to go a long way into Inhotim to bump into one of the largest and most beautiful trees in the park: the Tamboril. The specimen, located in the central area of the Institute, is an invitation for whoever is wandering around to go and take pictures. Moreover, Tamboril encourages you to rest underneath its shade or perhaps just gaze at it for a couple minutes. The tree is a popular hangout amongst visitors.

The story of Tamboril, or Enterolobium contortisiliquum, is intertwined with the story of Inhotim itself. The tree is believed to be from 80 to 100 years old, thus being one of Inhotim’s oldest assets. One of the restaurants in the park has been named after the specimen, which has remained in the same place ever since the region was a small village. Additionally, it is the inspiration for some of the ceramic artworks produced at the park, which have the tree painted on them.

Tamboril is an abundant species of our flora. Being deciduous, it loses its leaves seasonally. Its canopy reaches from 20 to 35 meters of height and it may range from between 80 and 160 inches of trunk diameter. It is a fast initial growth tree, which makes it well suited for reforestation. Its fruits are curvy and semi-hardwood, kidney or ear-shaped and may contain from two to twelve shiny brown seeds. Due to that, the tree has been granted several popular nicknames over the years, one of them being “Monkey’s Ears”.

In spite of being large and thick, the Tamboril wood is light, soft and very resistant. Due to that, it is often used to make canoes, toys, plywood and crates in general.

Since it is a waterbed tree, it was customary for washerwomen in the past to use Tamboril seeds and peels to wash clothing, as they contain soaping properties. Nowadays, several institutions are carrying out more thorough research on Enterolobium contortisiliquum. The Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), for instance, has discovered the existence of a protein in the plant’s seeds, which has been extracted and proven to have powerful antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and antithrombotic action.

Popular Name: Tamboril or Monkey’s ear

Scientific name: Enterolobium contortisiliquum

Family: Fabaceae

Occurrence: rain and semi-deciduous forests all over Brazil’s territory

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