Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Possum Wood, Sandbox Tree
Hura crepitans

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hura (HOO-ruh) (Info)
Species: crepitans (KREP-ih-tanz) (Info)

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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to view:

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Hura crepitans by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #2 of Hura crepitans by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #3 of Hura crepitans by Monocromatico

By fauna4flora
Thumbnail #4 of Hura crepitans by fauna4flora


2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive willermet On Jun 9, 2007, willermet from sutton
Canada wrote:

collected seeds in mexico.
planted at home in canada.
germinated and grown very easily in my home, but my house is too small and winter is coming. shame to lose such a friendy plant! now over a meter tall and growing fast!!

Positive Monocromatico On Oct 7, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a tropical tree from Central and South America rain forests. It can grow up to 30 meters, but in gardens with other big trees around, it hardly reaches more than 20 meters. Itīs also said to be medicinal, and I found several websites selling natural medicines and homeopathics made of Possum Wood. But, since itīs an Euphorbiaceae (a family full of poisonous plants), I donīt recomend using the leaves or the sap by yourself

The bark or covered with thorns, making it look like a Cotton Tree (Chorisia speciosa). It has triangular, bright green leaves with proeminent veins. These leaves are somewhat transparent, so if you look at them against light (like, from the ground, against the sun) you will see them glowing, and even form a distance, you can see the veins on each leaf. Also, the leaves have a milky sap that could irritate the skin.

The flowers are unissexuated. The male flowers are small and come in dense green spikes. The female flowers donīt have petals nor sepals, but has a huge dark red stigma that makes it look like a Magnolia or something. These flowers are hard to see from the ground. The seed heads, unlike other Euphorbiaceae, produce many seeds.

The tree will reseed itself in optimal conditions. Near the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro you can see many young Possum Trees growing spontaneously in the garden, while there are only 2 big ones around.

It needs high temperatures, full sun and constantly moist organic soil. The young plants will apreciate some shade. An underused ornamental tree for tropical gardens.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

West Palm Beach, Florida

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