home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Lecythidaceae (brazil nut family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Order: Ericales

About 20 genera and 280 species worldwide (pantropical), with one species native to southern Africa and a further two genera and four species cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).


About 39 species, native to tropical Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Madagascar. One species is native to southern Africa and a further two species are cultivated in the region.


Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Lecythis lanceolata (Sapucaia)

Native to Brazil.


Cariniana estrellensis (Bingueiro, Jequitibá)

Native to Brazil.


Other significant species

Bertholletia excelsa (Brazil nut)

Brazil nut trees are native to the Amazon rain forest in South America. Trees are about 45 m high and bear woody pods, each pod containing 12 to 20 hard-shelled seeds that we know as Brazil nuts. Most Brazil nuts are harvested from wild trees in Brazil and exported. The kernel of a Brazil nut contains about 67% fat and eating one nut is about the caloric equivalent of eating an egg! They are a good source of phosphorus and thiamin and contain some calcium.