Corozo

Vintage illustration of Tagua Palm

Corozo is derived from the nut of the Tagua Palm which grows in the equatorial rainforests of central America. Reputedly, the best comes from Ecuador – which is where we get ours. Otherwise known as ‘vegetable ivory’, Corozo is no ordinary material. In fact, it is really something special.

First off, it takes 15 years for a Tagua tree to mature from the time it germinates in the rich soil and humid air to produce its first crop. That means that if we had used the first crop of a new palm in making our maiden button range in 2016, the tree would have started its life in the year 2,000! Imagine that – 16 years to make a button from scratch!

But when the tagua palm reaches maturity, it then goes on to produce its valuable tagua nuts for a century or more. That means that our sample, newly matured tree could be supplying Corozo to make buttons for our great-great grand-children!

Each year, a tagua palm tree produces 15 large, spiny balls called ‘mococha’ which each contain around 20 small compartments in which some 6 nuts can be found. That’s 1,800 nuts per year in total. Given that these, in turn, vary in size, each tree therefore yields sufficient nuts for thousands of Corozo buttons each and every year!

But as the ‘mococha’ fall to earth quite naturally when they are ripe, it means that there is no human harvesting or cutting of any part of the tree which blissfully lives on regardless to continue growing and producing nuts for years to come. Seen in this light, our Corozo buttons not only ‘grow’ on trees, but they ‘fall’ from trees, too!

Lastly, Corozo is such a valuable crop that in contrast to many rainforests around the world which are being cut down legally as well as illegally, those in Ecuador are being largely maintained as the tagua palm tree’s economic and sustainability features means that it diminishes any need to cut the forests down. So, when you buy Corozo buttons, you are indirectly helping to save the ancient rainforests!

How many other buttons can you name that are as eco-friendly as this?

Please take a few moments to watch this short video which explains a little more about just how important the Tagua nut is to the environment and the people of Ecuador.