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Useful Tropical Plants

Lecythis pisonis

Cambess.

Lecythidaceae

+ Synonyms

Couroupita crenulata Miers

Couroupita lentula Miers

Lecythis amapaensis Ledoux

Lecythis amazonum Mart. ex O.Berg

Lecythis densa Miers

Lecythis hoppiana R.Knuth

Lecythis marcgraaviana Miers

Lecythis ollaria Spruce

Lecythis ollaria Vell.

Lecythis paraensis Huber ex Ducke

Lecythis pilaris Miers

Lecythis setifera Miers

Lecythis sphaeroides Miers

Lecythis urnigera Mart.

Lecythis usitata Miers

Lecythis vellozoana Miers

Pachylecythis egleri Ledoux

Common Name: Paradise Nut

Lecythis pisonis
Looking up the trunk of a tree growing in Parque Trianon, São Paulo, Brasil
Photograph by: mauroguanandi
Creative Commons License
Lecythis pisonis Lecythis pisonis Lecythis pisonis Lecythis pisonis Lecythis pisonis

General Information

Paradise nut is a tall deciduous tree with a dense, globose crown, that usually grows 30 - 40 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 50 - 90cm in diameter[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild as a source of food, medicines and various materials. Its seeds are greatly appreciated and are often gathered from the wild for local use, and are also sold in local markets[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. The wood is a high quality heavy duty timber and is harvested for commercial use. Some attempts to cultivate the tree for its seed have shown early promise[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
] and it is sometimes also grown as an ornamental[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Known Hazards

The fresh, ripe seed shell is said to contain a poisonous principle[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].
The seeds are likely to contain toxic quantities of selenium when grown on soils high in selenium[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - northern and eastern Brazil, Peru.

Habitat

Fertile flood plains in the rainforest[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Often found in groups, particularly in sunny positions on tops of hills[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. Found in all sorts of soil conditions[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. Usually found in dense primary forest, occasionally in more open situations[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height40.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a position in full sun or in dappled shade[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
,
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. Plants are probably not very fussy as to soil type[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. They can tolerate several months of waterlogging, as well as growing on the drier oxisols of terra firma[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Unlike the related Brazil nut, which only produces its seeds towards the top of the tree, this species can fruit right down to the lower branches[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].
The seeds take 18 months to mature after flowering[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Initial growth of young trees is quite rapid, with 5 year old trees attaining a height of 4 metres[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Trees have been known to produce their first crop in less than ten years from seed[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].
Flowering is sporadic, some trees bearing every other year, others at 5 year intervals[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Yields may be 12 - 20 fruits in the first fruiting year, with 81 fruits reported 2 years later[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. The average seed weight is 5.5 g, mature trees may yield around 80 kg of seeds annually[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The average yield for mature trees on terra firma is less than 50 fruits per year, it is probably more for trees growing on the fertile flood plains[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The fruits, which are suspended from the ends of branches, develop a perfectly fitting 'lid', which drops off as the nuts ripen, thus scattering the seeds[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. These fruits have been used as monkey traps. A bait is placed inside the empty fruit, which the monkey puts its hand inside to grab and then finds it cannot withdraw its hand (unless it releases the bait of course)[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - raw. Rich in oil, they are similar to the Brazil nut in size and shape[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. When ripe, the ivory-white kernels have a delicious flavour with a soft, almost creamy texture[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. The seeds are said to be sweeter than Brazil nuts, with a superior flavour and easier to digest[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. A very nutritious seed, containing about 63% oil or fat and 20% protein[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. Seeds are about 5cm long and 2.5cm thick[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. The shell is thin and easily broken, when quite fresh, however, this shell is said to contain a poisonous principle[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].

An edible oil can be obtained from the seed[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. Pale yellow in colour, suggestive of almond oil in both taste and smell[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. The harmful seed coat must be removed before extraction of the oil[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Medicinal

Infusions of the bark and pericarp are used in local medicine for treating liver complaints[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

An oil obtained from the seed is used for making soap and as an illuminant[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].

The hard wooden 'fruits' that contain the seeds are put to various domestic or kitchen uses[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. By cutting them away slightly at the stalk end they can be made to stand upright[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].

The tough and fibrous bark consists of a succession of thin layers which can be peeled off and used locally as cigarette wrappers[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The heartwood is red-brown; it is clearly demarcated from the 2 - 10cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain straight or interlocked.The wood is heavy to very heavy; moderately hard to very hard; tough; elastic; very durable if not in the soil, being resistant to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons slowly, with only a slight risk of distortion, but a high risk of checking; once dry it is poorly stable in service. The wood has a high blunting effect and is difficult to work, stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring; gluing is correct. Because of its hardness, the wood is not extensively used traditionally, but is a very good heavy duty construction timber that is employed for outdoor purposes such as railway sleepers, roofing shingles, bridges, stakes, props etc, as well as for parquet floors, tool handles, construction and general carpentry[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
,
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
,
848
Title
Tropix 7
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tropix.cirad.fr/en
Publisher
CIRAD
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line guide to the timbers of 245 species of trees.
].

Propagation

Seed - it only has a short period of viability so should be sown as soon as it is ripe[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in individual containers. A moderate germination rate can usually be expected, with the seed sprouting within 40 - 70 days[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
Seeds germinate within 7 - 10 days and initial growth is rapid, attaining 60 cm after 1 year[
324
Title
Edible Nuts.
Publication
Non-Wood Forest Products, Handbook 5
Author
Wickens G.E.
Website
http://www.fao.org/docrep/
Publisher
FAO, Rome.
Year
1995
ISBN
92-5-103748-5
Description
Detailed information on 20 of the most valuable nut crops, plus more basic information on a wide range of other nut-producing plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

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