a brief history:
"In the tropical rainforests stretching from Panama through Colombia, Ecuador until Peru grows within the forest in the shadow of the canopy a palm called Tagua. One finds this palm, that grows up to 8 meters in length, usually in the swampy parts of the forest and often in groups. The botanical name of the palm is Phytelephas aequatorialis or Phytelephas macrocarpa and several subspecies are distinguished. The palm produces yearly up to fifteen spikes with its fruits. The spike has a hard shell with protrusions and has in its interior about thirty nuts.
It is this nut that has made the Tagua palm valued and famous. The fruits or nuts are 5 to 6 cm in size with the largest ones up to 10 cm., have a brown skin and its pulp is white cellulose and edible.
The wonder comes when the nuts is being left to dry: after a few weeks in the sun the interior turns to ivory: palm ivory. Tagua comes under different names like palm ivory, vegetable ivory, corozo/corozzo, coquilla (brazil), palmivoor, steennoot (Dutch), steinnuss (German) and binroji (Japanese).
The good thing about tagua is that its harvest leaves the rain forest untouched. Even more: the use of tagua gives an economic use to the rain forest and so helps to protect the rain forests."