The seeds of South America’s ivory palm, Phytelephas macrocarpa, look so much like ivory that in the past people used them as ivory substitutes.
Each fruit of the ivory palm bears from six to nine seeds. When the fruit becomes ripe, it splits open and the seeds fall down. The unripe seed is good to eat, but the ripe seed is hard and inedible.
The local people call the ripe seed, vegetable ivory and use it to make buttons, chess pieces and small ornaments. Vegetable ivory is often used to make decorative objects as it is easy to carve, absorbs dyes easily and takes a high polish.