Brazil nut, common name for the Lecythidaceae, a family of tropical trees. It includes the anchovy pear ( Grias cauliflora ), a West Indian species with edible fruit used for pickles, and several lumber trees of South America, e.g., the cannon-ball tree ( Couroupita guianensis ), some species of Barringtonia, and the Brazil nut ( Bertholletia excelsa ). The latter is found chiefly in Brazil along the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, but extensive groves have also been planted in N Bolivia. The edible Brazil nuts grow clumped together in large, round, woody and extremely hard seed pods the size of a large grapefruit. The meat of the seed (the "nut") is very rich in oil. The Brazil nut family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lecythidales.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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