A tropical hardwood indigenous to Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, the Brazil nut tree is an important part of the Amazonian economy. Tons of its edible seed---Brazil nuts---are exported to England, France, the United States and Germany.
Brazil nut trees can grow to a height of 200 feet. Fruits can weigh as much as 5 lbs. and fall at a speed of 50 mph.
Brazil nut trees are pollinated by a unique species of orchard bee. It has a long, specialized tongue and lives in undisturbed rain forests. Because of this, Brazil nut trees are not easily grown on plantations.
Brazil nuts are harvested during the rainy season. A mature tree can produce 250 lbs. of nuts.
Brazil nut trees drop their fruits to the forest floor. Local residents known as "castañeros" (Brazil nut harvesters) gather the fruits and extract the nuts.
The number of Brazil nut trees is declining due to deforestation, disturbance of the forests and the invasion of the strangler fig. Strangler figs enwrap the tree, sapping it of vital nutrients and water.
Adelphobates castaneoticus, or the Brazil-nut poison frog, deposits its eggs inside empty Brazil nut pods.
- NY Botanical Garden: Brazil Nut Harvests
- AmphibiaWeb: Brazil-nut Poison Frog
- PBS: Giants of the Rain Forest
Brazil nut trees, rain forest, deforestation
About this Author
Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.