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Lecythidaceae, Lecythis elliptica, Mini-Brazil Nut, Monkey Pot

March 3, 2008

This is a fantastic tree. I found it in a stand of three in a somewhat neglected Summit botanic gardens outside of Panama City. I have collected seed from these trees for years. Today all of the other Lecythis spp. were flowering profusely, this one was full of ripe pods. I already have about ten very healthy trees going in my nursery. Inside the baseball size capsule (a miniature version of L. zabucajo), there are numerous nuts packed together. A cream colored aril is attached to the end of each nut, the aril tastes like anise but I’m not entirely sure if its edible. The nut itself is one of the best tasting tropical nuts I have eaten, identical in taste to its close relatives, perhaps superior to Brazil Nut, although maybe that’s because I was eating them fresh.The nut can be eaten fresh or roasted. In Brazil, an oil is extracted from the nuts to make soap.

The Pili nut (Canarium ovatum) is another great tropical nut.

See related info in entry for Lecythis zabucajo, Sapucaia Nut

10 Comments leave one →
  1. maxine kennedy permalink
    November 15, 2009 10:08:08 am

    please could you say the best way to plant seeds for germination?? Soak first?? etc?? I have acquired 2 only fresh nuts in their shells
    M Kennedy

    • November 15, 2009 10:08:48 pm

      Thanks for visiting the site. I usually have luck germinating seeds with no treatment, they tend to come up readily if the seeds are fresh and viable. Soaking them for 24 hours wouldn’t hurt. Another thing I have done is take a file and scarify the seed coat a bit to help moisture permeate to initiate germination. Good luck.

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 17, 2013 10:08:07 pm

      Hi , where do you buy the seeds ?
      Thank you

      • Anonymous permalink
        March 17, 2013 10:08:31 pm

        Sorry… I live in Trinidad West Indies and a friend gave me two only from the forest.. He ate his, I planted mine… And now have a 5ft tree coming along !

  2. penny permalink
    March 6, 2013 10:08:29 pm

    Do you know where can I buy the seeds?
    thank you penny

    • March 6, 2013 10:08:09 pm

      Not sure where you can buy seeds. I’ve collected and propagated seed of L. pinsonis, L. elliptica, and L. zabucajo, but all from botanic gardens in Panama and Costa Rica.

      • Anonymous permalink
        March 17, 2013 10:08:05 pm

        Please help me. I would like plant them but I don’t know where I can buy it.
        Thank you

  3. David Tortuga permalink
    April 20, 2013 10:08:06 am

    Hi Spencer,

    Have you had any luck getting these to grow via cuttings? I’ve tried several times and the cuttings never seem to last more than a few days before croaking.


  1. Lecythidaceae, Lecythis zabucajo, Sapucaia Nut, , Monkey Pot, Sapucaio «
  2. Sapucaia pod and seeds «

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