Sunday, May 16, 2021

The tree of Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are the largest of the commonly consumed nuts from the giant Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa), which is a native of South America.

Brazil nuts are commercially collected from terra firme forest soils lowland rainforests in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. Almost all production is harvested from the natural tree population. The nuts are an important source of income for the local communities, which depend directly or indirectly on the Brazil nut trade.
Brazil nut is an emergent (heights up to 50 m), long lived pioneer tree that depends on forest clearings for growth and natural regeneration.

The tree is one of the tallest trees of the Amazon Basin’s tropical rainforest, reaching up to 50 m in height, and can reach an age of 1,000 years. Its straight cylindrical unbranched trunk has a rough gray-brown bark with longitudinal fissures and its canopy may have a diameter of 20-30 m.

Seeds of Bertholletia are contained in woody fruits that are primarily opened by agoutis (caviomorph rodents). After fruit fall, most fruits are left untouched on the forest floor for 1-2 year before they are opened.

Brazil nuts are traded in two ways: as nuts that are still contained in their shell (in-shell) and as the shelled nuts (kernels). Kernels weigh around 35% of the in-shell nuts.
The tree of Brazil nuts

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