The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a South American tree in the family Lecythidaceae, and also the name of the tree's commercially harvested edible seeds.
|Brazil nut tree|
Humb. & Bonpl.
The Brazil nut tree is the only species in the monotypic genus Bertholletia. It is native to the Guianas, Venezuela, Brazil, eastern Colombia, eastern Peru, and eastern Bolivia. It occurs as scattered trees in large forests on the banks of the Amazon River, Rio Negro, Tapajós, and the Orinoco. The genus is named after the French chemist Claude Louis Berthollet.
The Brazil nut is a large tree, reaching 50 m (160 ft) tall and with a trunk 1 to 2 m (3.3 to 6.6 ft) in diameter, making it among the largest of trees in the Amazon rainforests. It may live for 500 years or more, and according to some authorities often reaches an age of 1,000 years. The stem is straight and commonly without branches for well over half the tree's height, with a large emergent crown of long branches above the surrounding canopy of other trees.
The bark is grayish and smooth. The leaves are dry-season deciduous, alternate, simple, entire or crenate, oblong, 20–35 cm (7.9–13.8 in) long and 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) broad. The flowers are small, greenish-white, in panicles 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) long; each flower has a two-parted, deciduous calyx, six unequal cream-colored petals, and numerous stamens united into a broad, hood-shaped mass.
In Brazil, it is illegal to cut down a Brazil nut tree. As a result, they can be found outside production areas, in the backyards of homes and near roads and streets. The fruits are very heavy and rigid; when the fruits fall, they pose a serious threat to vehicles and people passing under the tree. Brazil nut fruits sink in fresh water, which can cause clogging of waterways in riparian areas.
Brazil nut trees produce fruit almost exclusively in pristine forests, as disturbed forests lack the large-bodied bees of the genera Bombus, Centris, Epicharis, Eulaema, and Xylocopa which are the only ones capable of pollinating the tree's flowers, with different bee genera being the primary pollinators in different areas, and different times of year. Brazil nuts have been harvested from plantations, but production is low and is currently not economically viable.
The fruit takes 14 months to mature after pollination of the flowers. The fruit itself is a large capsule 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) in diameter, resembling a coconut endocarp in size and weighing up to 2 kg (4.4 lb). It has a hard, woody shell 8–12 mm (0.31–0.47 in) thick, which contains eight to 24 triangular seeds 4–5 cm (1.6–2.0 in) long (the "Brazil nuts") packed like the segments of an orange.
The capsule contains a small hole at one end, which enables large rodents like the agouti to gnaw it open. They then eat some of the seeds inside while burying others for later use; some of these are able to germinate into new Brazil nut trees. Most of the seeds are "planted" by the agoutis in shady places, and the young saplings may have to wait years, in a state of dormancy, for a tree to fall and sunlight to reach it, when it starts growing again. Capuchin monkeys have been reported to open Brazil nuts using a stone as an anvil.
Despite their name, the most significant exporter of Brazil nuts is not Brazil but Bolivia, where they are called castañas de Brasil or nuez de Brasil. In Brazil, these nuts are called castanhas-do-pará (literally "chestnuts from Pará"), but Acreans call them castanhas-do-acre instead. Indigenous names include juvia in the Orinoco area. In Cuba, the nut is alternatively called coquito de Santiago, literally St. James coconut.
In 2014, global production of Brazil nuts (in shell) was 95,000 tonnes, remaining a consistent annual total since 2009. The largest producers were Bolivia (47% of world total) and Brazil (40%), and the United States was the largest importer, with 9% of the world production volume.
Brazil nuts for international trade can come from wild collection rather than from plantations. This has been advanced as a model for generating income from a tropical forest without destroying it. The nuts are gathered by migrant workers known as castanheiros.
Analysis of tree ages in areas that are harvested show that moderate and intense gathering takes so many seeds that not enough are left to replace older trees as they die. Sites with light gathering activities had many young trees, while sites with intense gathering practices had hardly any young trees.
Statistical tests were done to determine what environmental factors could be contributing to the lack of younger trees. The most consistent effect was found to be the level of gathering activity at a particular site. A computer model predicting the size of trees where people picked all the nuts matched the tree size data gathered from physical sites that had heavy harvesting.
|Brazil nuts, dried, unblanched, shelled|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,743 kJ (656 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||7.5 g|
|Aspartic acid||1.346 g|
|Glutamic acid||3.147 g|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Brazil nuts are 14% protein, 12% carbohydrate, and 66% fat by weight; 85% of their calories come from fat, and a 100 gram amount provides 656 total calories. The fat components are 23% saturated, 38% monounsaturated, and 32% polyunsaturated. Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, primarily omega-6 fatty acids, shelled Brazil nuts may quickly become rancid.
Nutritionally, Brazil nuts are an excellent source (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fiber (30% DV) and various vitamins and dietary minerals. A 100 gram amount (75% of one cup) of Brazil nuts contains rich content of thiamin (54% DV), vitamin E (38% DV), magnesium (106% DV), phosphorus (104% DV), manganese (57% DV) and zinc (43% DV) (right table). Brazil nuts are perhaps the richest dietary source of selenium, with a one-ounce (28 g) serving of 6 nuts supplying 774% DV. This is 10 times the adult U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance, more even than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level, although the amount of selenium within batches of nuts varies greatly.
The European Union has imposed strict regulations on the import from Brazil of Brazil nuts in their shells, as the shells have been found to contain high levels of aflatoxins, which can lead to liver cancer.
Brazil nuts contain small amounts of radium, a radioactive element, in about 1–7 nCi/kg or 40–260 Bq/kg, about 1000 times higher than in several other common foods; according to Oak Ridge Associated Universities, this is not because of elevated levels of radium in the soil, but due to "the very extensive root system of the tree."
Brazil nuts are a common ingredient in mixed nuts. Because of their large size, they tend to rise to the top upon forced vibrations likely encountered during transport, an example of granular convection, which for this reason is often called the "Brazil nut effect."
The following table presents the composition of fatty acids in Brazil nut oil:
As well as its food use, Brazil nut oil is also used as a lubricant in clocks, for making artists' paints, and in the cosmetics industry. Engravings in Brazil nut shells were supposedly used as decorative jewelry by the indigenous tribes in Bolivia, although no examples still exist. Because of its hardness, the Brazil nut's shell is often pulverized and used as an abrasive to polish materials such as metals and even ceramics (in the same way jeweler's rouge is used).
The lumber from Brazil nut trees (not to be confused with Brazilwood) is of excellent quality, but logging the trees is prohibited by law in all three producing countries (Brazil, Bolivia and Peru). Illegal extraction of timber and land clearances present a continuing threat.
Alalapadu is a Tiriyó village in the Sipaliwini District of Suriname. The village was founded by missionaries next to the Alalapadu Airstrip in order to concentrate the Tiriyó of the area in one central village. Between 1976 and 1977, Alalapadu was mostly abanonded in favour of the new settlement of Kwamalasamutu, as the soils surrounding the village became depleted. Alalapadu was never completely abandoned, however, and in 1999, some Tiriyó again permanently settled in the vicinity of the old village. The new village is sometimes known as Alalapadu II.In 2017, a Brazil nut oil production facility opened in Alalapadu.Amazon Conservation Association
Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to conserve the biodiversity of the Amazon basin through the development of new scientific understanding, sustainable resource management and rational land-use policy.
Founded in 1999 by tropical ecologists Adrian Forsyth and Enrique Ortiz, the organization works in close partnership with the Peruvian nonprofit organization Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA), headquartered in Cuzco, and ACA-Bolivia, headquartered in La Paz. ACA and its sister organizations work by conducting scientific research and establishing partnerships with governments, local communities and other conservation organizations to expand the amount of land protected in the region.
A principal objective of the organization is to develop field research sites ranging from high elevation cloud forest to the lowland Amazon. It is this altitudinal gradient that harbors the greatest known richness of species on the planet. At the ACA field sites university students and researchers are brought to study and observe this diverse ecosystem.Asterids
In the APG IV system (2016) for the classification of flowering plants, the name asterids denotes a clade (a monophyletic group). Common examples include the forget-me-nots, nightshades (including potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and tobacco), the common sunflower, petunias, morning glory and sweet potato, coffee, lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, honeysuckle, ash tree, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, table herbs such as mint, basil, and rosemary, and rainforest trees such as Brazil nut.
Most of the taxa belonging to this clade had been referred to the Asteridae in the Cronquist system (1981) and to the Sympetalae in earlier systems. The name asterids (not necessarily capitalised) resembles the earlier botanical name but is intended to be the name of a clade rather than a formal ranked name, in the sense of the ICBN.Brazil-nut poison frog
The Brazil-nut poison frog (Adelphobates castaneoticus) is a species of frog in the family Dendrobatidae. It is endemic to the state of Pará in Brazil. The frog is believed to have received its common name from the fact that its tadpoles sometimes develop in the hard capsules of the Brazil nut tree, which are common in its range. The nuts fall to the forest floor where they are broken open by agoutis and other animals seeking the seeds, and empty husks fill with water.Brazil nut cake
Brazil nut cake (Portuguese: Bolo de castanha-do-pará) is a cake prepared using Brazil nuts as a primary ingredient. Coffeecake, shortcake, pound cake, fruitcake, brownies and torte cake may be prepared using Brazil nuts as a main ingredient. Ground or chopped Brazil nuts may be used. Brazil nut cake is a dish in Brazilian cuisine, and it is a common and popular cake in the Amazon region of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru.Capsule (fruit)
In botany a capsule is a type of simple, dry, though rarely fleshy dehiscent fruit produced by many species of angiosperms (flowering plants).Centris
The genus Centris contains circa 250 species of large apid bees occurring in the Neotropical and Nearctic realms, from Kansas to Argentina. Most females of these bees possess adaptations for carrying floral oils rather than (or in addition to) pollen or nectar. They visit mainly plants of the family Malpighiaceae to collect oil, but also Plantaginaceae, Calceolariaceae, Krameriaceae and others. Recent studies have shown they are sister to the corbiculate bees, the most well-known and economically important group of bees They are large (up to 3 cm), fast-flying bees, distinguished from the closely related genus Epicharis by the absence of long, whip-like setae that project backwards from just behind the eyes. They are commonly encountered bees in American deserts, and are active at very high ambient temperatures when many other species are in hiding. They can often be seen in large numbers on desert-willow (Chilopsis) and palo verde (Parkinsonia) blossoms. Bees of this genus are of some economical significance in pollinating crops such as Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa) and Cashew (Anacardium occidentale, pollinated by C. tarsata among others).
The mating system of one species, C. pallida, has been particularly well-researched by the behavioral ecologist John Alcock; the entomologist Adolpho Ducke also studied this genus.Conopodium majus
Conopodium majus is a small perennial herb, whose underground part resembles a chestnut and is sometimes eaten as a wild or cultivated root vegetable.
The plant has many English names (many of them shared with Bunium bulbocastanum, a related plant with similar appearance and uses) variously including kippernut, cipernut, arnut, jarnut, hawknut, earth chestnut, groundnut, and earthnut. From its popularity with pigs come the names pignut, hognut, and more indirectly Saint Anthony's nut, for Anthony the Great or Anthony of Padua, both patron saints of swineherds. (See groundnut, earthnut, and hognut for other plants which share these names.)The plant is common through much of Europe and parts of North Africa. It grows in woods and fields, and is an indicator of long-established grassland.
It has a smooth, slender, curving stem, up to 1 m high, much-divided leaves, and small, white flowers in many-rayed terminal compound umbels.
The rounded "nut" (inconsistently described by authorities as a tuber, corm, or root) is similar to a chestnut in its brown colour and its size (up to 25 mm in diameter), and its sweet, aromatic flavour has been compared to that of the chestnut, hazelnut, sweet potato, and Brazil nut. Palatable and nutritious, its eating qualities are widely praised, and it is popular among wild food foragers, but it remains a minor crop, due in part to its low yields and difficulty of harvest.Couroupita guianensis
Couroupita guianensis, known by a variety of common names including cannonball tree, is a deciduous tree in the family Lecythidaceae, which also includes the Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) and Paradise nut Lecythis zabucajo. It is native to the rainforests of Central and South America, and it is cultivated in many other tropical areas throughout the world because of its beautiful, fragrant flowers and large, interesting fruits. There are medicinal uses for many parts of Couroupita guianensis, and the tree has cultural and religious significance in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.Ericales
The Ericales are a large and diverse order of dicotyledons, including, for example, tea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, and azalea. The order includes trees, bushes, lianas, and herbaceous plants. Together with ordinary autophytic plants, the Ericales include chlorophyll-deficient mycoheterotrophic plants (e.g., Sarcodes sanguinea) and carnivorous plants (e.g., genus Sarracenia).
Many species have five petals, often grown together. Fusion of the petals as a trait was traditionally used to place the order in the subclass Sympetalae.Mycorrhiza is an interesting property, frequently associated with the Ericales. Indeed, symbiosis with root fungi is quite common among the order representatives, and three kinds of it can be found exclusively among Ericales (namely, ericoid, arbutoid and monotropoid mycorrhiza). In addition, some families among the order are notable for their exceptional ability to accumulate aluminum.Ericales are a cosmopolitan order. Areas of distribution of families vary largely - while some are restricted to tropics, others exist mainly in Arctic or temperate regions. The entire order contains over 8,000 species, of which the Ericaceae account for 2,000-4,000 species (by various estimates).Eulaema mocsaryi
Eulaema mocsaryi is a species of large-bodied bee in the tribe Euglossini, the orchid bees. It was named in honour of the Hungarian entomologist Alexander Mocsáry, curator of the Hungarian Natural History Museum. It is native to forests in parts of tropical South America.Granular convection
Granular convection, or granular segregation, is a phenomenon where granular material subjected to shaking or vibration will exhibit circulation patterns similar to types of fluid convection. It is sometimes described as the Brazil nut effect when the largest particles end up on the surface of a granular material containing a mixture of variously sized objects; this derives from the example of a typical container of mixed nuts, where the largest will be Brazil nuts. The phenomenon is also known as the muesli effect since it is seen in packets of breakfast cereal containing particles of different sizes but similar density, such as muesli mix.
Under experimental conditions, granular convection of variously sized particles has been observed forming convection cells similar to fluid motion. The convection of granular flows is becoming a well-understood phenomenon.Hypolith
In Arctic and Antarctic ecology, a hypolith is a photosynthetic organism, and an extremophile, that lives
underneath rocks in climatically extreme deserts such as Cornwallis Island and Devon Island in the Canadian high Arctic. The community itself is the hypolithon.
Hypolithons are protected by their rock from harsh ultraviolet radiation and wind scouring. The rocks can also trap moisture and are generally translucent allowing light to penetrate. Writing in Nature, ecologist Charles S. Cockell of the British Antarctic Survey and Dale Stokes (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) describe how hypoliths reported to date (until 2004) had been found under quartz, which is one of the most common translucent minerals.However, Cockell reported that on Cornwallis Island and Devon Island, 94-95% of a random sample of 850 opaque dolomitic rocks were colonized by hypoliths, and found that the communities were dominated by cyanobacteria. The rocks chosen were visually indistinguishable from those nearby, and were about 10 cm across; the hypolithon was visible as a greenish coloured band. Cockell proposed that rock sorting by periglacial action, including that during freeze–thaw cycles, improves light penetration around the edges of rocks (see granular material and Brazil nut effect).
Cockell and Stokes went on to estimate the productivity of the Arctic communities by monitoring the uptake of sodium bicarbonate labelled with Carbon-14 and found that (for Devon Island) productivity of the hypolithon was comparable to that of plants, lichens, and bryophytes combined (0.8 ± 0.3 g m−2 y−1 and 1 ± 0.4 g m−2 y−1 respectively) and concluded that the polar hypolithon may double previous estimates of the productivity of that region of the rocky polar desert.Knightly sword
In the European High Middle Ages, the typical sword (sometimes academically categorized as the knightly sword, arming sword, or in full, knightly arming sword) was a straight, double-edged weapon with a single-handed, cruciform (i.e., cross-shaped) hilt and a blade length of about 70 to 80 centimetres (28 to 31 in). This type is frequently depicted in period artwork, and numerous examples have been preserved archaeologically.
The high medieval sword of the Romanesque period (10th to 13th centuries) developed gradually from the Viking sword (spatha) of the 9th century.
In the Late Medieval period (14th and 15th centuries), late forms of these swords continued to be used, but often as a sidearm, at that point called "arming swords" and contrasting with the two-handed, heavier longswords.
Though the majority of late-medieval arming swords kept their blade properties from previous centuries, there are also surviving specimens from the 15th century that took the form of a late-medieval estoc, specialised for use against more heavily armoured opponents. After the end of the medieval period, the arming sword developed into several forms of the early modern one-handed straight swords, such as the side-sword, the rapier, the cavalry-focused Reiterschwert and certain types of broadsword.Lecythidaceae
The Lecythidaceae comprise a family of about 20 genera and 250-300 species of woody plants native to tropical South America, Africa (including Madagascar), Asia and Australia.
According to the most recent molecular analysis of Lecythidaceae by Mori et al. (2007), the three subfamilies are:
Foetidioideae (Foetidiaceae) from Madagascar include only Foetidia.
Planchonioideae (including Barringtonia) are restricted to the Old World tropics.
Lecythidoideae (Lecythidaceae) are restricted to the New World tropics.Two other families are sometimes included in Lecythidaceae; the Scytopetalaceae and Napoleonaeaceae are hypothesized as most closely related to Lecythidaceae.
More detailed information about Lecythidaceae, especially the New World taxa, can be found at the Lecythidaceae Pages.
The most important member of the family in world trade is the Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa), valued for its edible nuts; the paradise nut (Lecythis species) is also eaten.
The APG II system of 2003 includes genera from the family Scytopetalaceae in the Lecythidaceae, including Rhaptopetalum and Brazzeia. Careya is called pezham in Malayalam.Lecythis ampla
Lecythis ampla is a species of woody plant in the family Lecythidaceae, which also includes the Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa). Common names include coco, olla de mono, jicaro and salero.
It is found in Central and South America. It has been considered an endangered species in Costa Rica (IUCN, 1988).Osteocephalus castaneicola
Osteocephalus castaneicola is a species of frog in the family Hylidae. It is found in lowland Amazonia of northern Bolivia, adjacent southeastern Peru, and western Brazil (Acre, south-central Amazonas, and Rondônia). It breeds in water-filled fruit capsules of the Brazil nut, a characteristic also alluded to in its specific name castaneicola derived from the Latin castanea (horse chestnut, Aesculus), the root of the vernacular name castaña for the Brazil nut, together with the Latin colō meaning "to inhabit".Rhinella castaneotica
Rhinella castaneotica is a species of toad in the family Bufonidae. It is known from the Amazon Basin in Bolivia (Pando), Brazil (Amazonas, Pará, and Rondônia), Colombia (Amazonas, Caquetá, and Putumayo), and eastern Peru, but likely occurs wider in the upper Amazon Basin. Its natural habitats are tropical moist old-growth lowland forests. It is a forest floor species that breeds in Brazil nut capsules and temporary pools. There are no known significant threats to this species.The Residency, Penang
The Residency (Malay: Seri Mutiara) in the city of George Town in Penang, Malaysia is the official residence of Penang's head of state, the Governor of Penang. Built by the British in 1888, the mansion formerly served as the official residence of the highest-ranking British officer in Penang right up to the Malayan independence in 1957.The grounds of The Residency, through which the Waterfall River flows, is home to several rare species of plants, such as a baobab tree (one of only three such trees in Penang), the Brazil nut, Indian ebony and the cannon-ball tree.
|True, or botanical nuts|
|Edible plants / roots|
|Sap / Gum / etc.|