Bertholletia excelsa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Bertholletia excelsa Humb. & Bonpl. (published as exelsa)

Family: Lecythidaceae


  • Bertholletia nobilis Miers.

Vernacular names

  • Brazil nut, para nut (En)
  • Noyer du Brésil (Fr).


Grows wild in the Amazon forest. Occasionally planted in South-East Asia.


Seeds are valued as nuts. An edible oil is prepared from the seed-kernels.


  • Very large tree, height to 50 m, trunk diameter 1-2 m, branched only in the upper parts generally.
  • Fruit capsule-like, globose, with thick-walled woody shell, brown, 12-15 cm in diameter, containing 12-25 seeds.
  • Seeds angular, with brown, woody shell, 3-5 cm long.

Occurs in dense lowland rain forests. Widely distributed above the flood level, sometimes in nearly pure stands. Nearly all the world's supply of over 50 000 t/year is collected from the wild. Trees start bearing 10-20 years after planting.

Selected sources

  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2nd ed. 2 Volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.
  • Heyne, K., 1927. De nuttige planten van Nederlandsch Indië [The useful plants of the Dutch East Indies]. 2nd ed. 3 Volumes. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch Indië. 1953 pp.
  • Howes, F.N., 1948. Nuts. Their production and everyday use. Faber & Faber, London. 264 pp.
  • Purseglove, J.W., 1975. Tropical Crops. Dicotyledons 1 & 2. Longmans Green & Co., London. 719 pp.


P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen