Nut production in Brazil : The Brazilian nut comes from the Bertholletia excelsa tree, which is found throughout the Amazon Rainforest, an area that covers approximately 2.7 million square miles in South America, extending across northwestern Brazil and into Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Brazil's walnut trees produce fruit almost exclusively in virgin forests, since altered forests lack large bees of the genera Bombus, Centris, Epicharis, Eulaema and Xylocopa, which are the only ones capable of pollinating the flowers of the tree, with different types of bees being the main pollinators in different areas and at different times of the year. Pickers harvest walnuts from Brazil during the wet season (January-March), when most of the tree fruits have fallen to the forest floor. Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a South American tree from the Lecythidaceae family, and is also the name of the tree's edible seeds harvested commercially.
In Brazil, cutting down a Brazilian nut tree (usually with the intention of harvesting wood and nuts from Brazil) is illegal, unless done with prior authorization from the Brazilian Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources. At first glance, the Brazilian nut looks like little more than an oversized, expensive nut that is overlooked in the supermarket. Once sterile, the nuts are split in a giant machine that you don't want to fall into and the shelled grain undergoes several manual tests, two of which are performed under ultraviolet light and damaged, rotten or fungus-infected nuts are discarded. At a reference amount of 100 grams (3.5 oz), Brazil nuts provide 659 calories and are a rich source (20% or more of the daily value, DV) of dietary fiber (30% DV), thiamine (54% DV), vitamin E (38% DV), magnesium (106% DV), phosphorus (104% DV), manganese (57% DV) and zinc (43% DV).
TweetBrazil nuts are the nuts of a large canopy tree, Bertholletia exclesa, found throughout much of the Amazon. The tree grows to 45 m and is an emerging canopy, its flowers are pollinated by tropical bees that only live in the Amazon jungle and that, for their own reproduction, depend on an orchid, Coryanthes vasquezii. Walnut wood from Brazil is prized for its quality in carpentry, flooring and heavy construction. The family of Brazil nuts, Lecythidaceae, belongs to the order Ericales, as do other well-known plants such as blueberries, blueberries, sapote, gutapercha, tea, phlox and persimmons.
All these well-known seeds are harvested from wild trees that grow deep in the pristine forest and represent the main source of income for the communities that harvest them. The fruit and its nut shell, which contains the edible Brazil nut, are relatively large and can weigh up to 2 kg (4 lb 7 oz) in total weight. It is the pollinator's dependence on this orchid, which grows high in the canopy, but not on walnut trees in Brazil, that has made attempts to grow Brazil nuts on plantations almost impossible.