This large seed pod (about 10cm diameter) comes from the Pterygota alata tree that is native to forests of many South-East Asian countries. In English it is colloquially know as the Buddha’s Coconut or Buddha Nut tree due to the seed pod’s resemblance to a coconut. The winged seeds are eaten by some local populations and the pods are widely exported for decorative uses in terrariums, vivariums and aquariums, sold for around £2 each.
The seed casing swells smoothly and voluptuously out from the stem and its bulbous form is emphasised by a wavy linear texture that runs from tip to base. The near-spherical case has split open at maturity revealing a soft, compressible interior that still bears the impressions of the pairs of winged seeds that once occupied it. The split reveals the cross-section of the pod with a woody outer shell and a spongy interior lining.