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Caryocar nuciferum - L.

Common Name Souari Nut. Butter Nut
Family Caryocaraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Deep loams and fertile sandy soils in riverside forests[200 ].
Range Northern S. America - Brazil to Guyana.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Caryocar nuciferum Souari Nut. Butter Nut

Caryocar nuciferum Souari Nut. Butter Nut


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Caryocar nuciferum is an evergreen Tree growing to 45 m (147ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Caryocar tomentosum Willd. Caryocar tuberculosum (Aubl.) Baill. Pekea tuberculosa Aubl.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Seed - raw or cooked. The large, soft, white kernels have a delicious, rich, almond-like flavour and are enclosed in a hard shell[63 , 200 , 301 ]. The seed contains over 60% fat[63 ]. The kidney-shaped kernel is usually well over 5cm long and 2cm in diameter[63 ]. The seed shell is about 7mm thick and difficult to crack[63 ]. The large fruit containing the seeds can weigh up to 11kg and measure 18cm in diameter, it contains 1 - 4 seeds (usually 1 or 2) which are easily extracted from it[63 , 200 ]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[301 ]. Excellent for preparing bakery products[301 ]. Fruit - cooked[301 ]. The oily, yellow pulp is cooked and eaten as a vegetable[301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The whole plant is used as a febrifuge[348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

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Other Uses

Oil  Wood

Wood - hard and durable[63 ]. A potentially valuable timber, well suited for making canoes and the crooks of boats, but little used because of the tree's value as a seed producer[63 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

A plant of the humid, lowland, tropical forests, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres[335 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 21 - 28c, but can tolerate 10 - 35c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,600 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,200 - 2,400mm[418 ]. Grows best in a sunny position[418 ]. Prefers well-drained, light loams of good depth and fertile sandy soils[63 , 418 ]. Dislikes poor soils[63 ]. Plants are very susceptible to drought[200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 6.5, tolerating 5.5 - 7[418 ]. Fruits take about 4 months to ripen from flowering[63 ]. Plants can take up to 20 years to produce their first crop from seed, though this can be greatly reduced by applying shade and wind protection when the plants are young[200 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Oil  (0-15 percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Some of these are consumed whole while others are exclusively pressed for oil. Annuals include canola, poppyseed, maize, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut. Perennials include high-oil fruits, seeds, and nuts, such as olive, coconut, avocado, oil palm, shea, pecan, and macadamia. Some perennial oil crops are consumed whole as fruits and nuts, while others are exclusively pressed for oil (and some are used fresh and for oil).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - takes 6 - 12 months to germinate[63 ]. Grow young plants on in a sheltered position with some shelter from the sun[63 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Guiana nut, Butter-nut of Guiana, pekea-nut, or – like all other species of Caryocar with edible nuts – "souari-nut" or "sawarri-nut".

Asia, Brazil, Central America, Guiana, Guianas, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Panama, SE Asia, Singapore, South America, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Venezuela

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Caryocar brasiliensePequi, Souari nutTree10.0 10-12 SLMHNDM422
Caryocar villosumPiquiaTree30.0 10-12 SLMHNM302

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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