10 Plants And Animals That Live In The Rainforest Rainforest Plants – Brazil Nut

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Rainforest Plants – Brazil Nut

Family: Lecythidaceae

Variety: Bertholletia

Species: excelsa

Common names: brazil nut, castania, castanheiro do para, para-nut, creamnut

General Description: The Brazil nut tree is a tall forest canopy tree. It is the only species in the genus Bertholletia. This tree grows primarily in forests with full canopies; it is very large, reaching a height of 150 feet or more.

The Brazil nut tree is one of many similar species that illustrate the amazing ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest, in which plants and animals depend on each other for survival. Essentially, this tree needs carpenter bee for its flowers. It also depends on the agouti (rat living in Central America) for dispersing its seeds. This rodent has sharp teeth and strong jaws, it tears open the fruits and then carries them throughout the forest floor.

Brazil nut trees grow slowly, taking about 10 to 30 years before producing fruit, and sometimes as many as 300 fruits at maturity. The fruits of the nut trees are picked by hand as they fall to the ground beginning in November of each year.

Location: The tree is called castanheiro do para in Brazil and is found throughout the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

Uses: Amazon relies on the nut tree for a healthy economy. Exporting Brazilian fruits began with Dutch traders in the 1600s. Exporting from the Amazon rainforest is one of the main sources of income for the region. The price is second only to that of rubber. In addition, nut oil is an ingredient in skin creams because it has a high selenium content (antioxidant benefits) and has the ability to lubricate and moisturize the skin. Brazil nut oil is also used in an herbal tea that can help treat some liver problems.

The main concern is the future of this important forest tree. If uncontrolled extraction and export of the nut continues, the survival of both agouti and the Brazil nut tree itself will be threatened.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Any reference to the use of medicine is not intended to treat, cure, reduce or prevent any disease.

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