Brazil nut

Brazil nut – Preparing – Eight of Nuts (Pentacles)

Genus: Bertholletia – Family: Lecythidaceae


The spirit of the Brazil nut tree is one of careful preparation and focus as we concentrate our efforts on successfully completing something we have been working on for a long time.

Brazil nut trees are the only species in the genus Bertholletia. The genus is named after French chemist Claude Louis Berthollet (1748 – 1822.) They are native to South America and the Amazon basin.

The Brazil nut fruit takes an astonishing 14 months to mature after large-bodied bees pollinate the blossoms.  The exterior of the fruit is a hard, woody shell resembling a coconut that weighs up to 4.5 lbs. The shell is cut in half exposing 8-24 triangular seeds that each contains a Brazil nut. These woody seeds are tightly packed together like orange segments.

Brazil nuts, Bertholletia excelsa, are grown and harvested almost exclusively in pristine forests versus plantations. Brazil nuts are primarily collected in the wild. This requires a great deal of preparation but is an advanced model for generating income from a tropical rainforest without destroying it.

Most nuts are gathered by workers known as castanheiros, meaning “chestnuts gatherers,” in Portuguese. This is due to the fact that most locals refer to these nuts as chestnuts. Nut gathering is now being monitored, to ensure that young trees are able to sprout from seeds lying on the forest floor.

Brazil nut trees are large deciduous trees that can reach 160 feet tall and can live to be 500-1000 years old, making it one of the largest and oldest trees in the Amazon rainforest. The lumber of Brazil nut tree is of excellent quality (not to be confused with Brazilian rosewood.) Logging is strictly prohibited in all three countries where it grows.

Brazil nuts and Brazil nut oil are high in protein and omega-6 fatty acids along plus other essential vitamins and minerals.

Message: The Brazil nut spirit encourages us to be prepared to see beyond the status quo as we identify new ways to improve our life and our world. We are being reminded that a “less is more” approach is a smart choice for sustainable growth. It may not be the easiest path but with ingenuity and a good plan we can improve areas of our life we never thought possible before. The skills we have learned are going to open new doors once we complete what we began. Our preparation and patience is about to be rewarded with continued opportunities for growth.

Challenge: Perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive behavior that prohibits natural growth. Life is organic and imperfectly perfect.