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Lecythis ollaria - Loefl.

Common Name Monkey Pot. Sapucaia nut, Pot nut
Family Lecythidaceae
USDA hardiness 11-12
Known Hazards The seeds may be toxic when they come from plants growing on soils with selenium accumulation[317 ].
Habitats Found growing in forests in Brazil and Venezuela. Tropical
Range S. America - Venezuela.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Lecythis ollaria Monkey Pot. Sapucaia nut, Pot nut

Lecythis ollaria Monkey Pot. Sapucaia nut, Pot nut


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Lecythis ollaria is an evergreen Tree growing to 35 m (114ft) by 35 m (114ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, insects.
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


Eschweilera cordata (O.Berg) Miers Lecythis cordata O.Berg Lecythis nobilis Linden Lecythis ollaria L.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Seed - raw or roasted[335 ]. Rich in oil, they are similar to the Brazil nut in size and shape[301 ]. When ripe, the ivory-white kernels have a delicious flavour with a soft, almost creamy texture[63 , 301 ]. The seeds are said to be sweeter than Brazil nuts, with a superior flavour and easier to digest[63 ]. A very nutritious seed, containing about 63% oil or fat and 20% protein[63 ]. Seeds are about 5cm long and 2.5cm thick[63 ]. The shell is thin and easily broken, when quite fresh, however, this shell is said to contain a poisonous principle[63 ]. An edible oil can be obtained from the seed[63 ]. Pale yellow in colour, suggestive of almond oil in both taste and smell[63 ].

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 fruits are sold by vendors of herbal medicine in Caracas, presumably for their depilatory effect[317 ].

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.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
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Other Uses

Lighting  Oil  Soap  Tannin  Wood

An oil obtained from the seed is used for making soap and as an illuminant[46 , 63 ]. The hard wooden 'fruits' that contain the seeds are put to various domestic or kitchen uses[63 ]. By cutting them away slightly at the stalk end they can be made to stand upright[63 ]. The bark is a source of tannins[46 ]. The reddish to greyish-brown wood is easy to split, polishes well and is resistant to teredo and barnacles[46 ]. It is used for wharves, piles, sluices, frames of houses etc[46 ]. The wood is tough and difficult to work so it is not extensively used[63 ]. We have no more specific information on the wood of this species. A general description of the wood from this genus is as follows:- The heartwood is light to dark salmon; the sapwood is creamy-yellow. The texture is medium fine and uniform; the grain fairly straight or slightly interlocked; lustre is mostly low but high in some species; there is no distinctive odour or taste. the wood is reported to be very durable upon exposure to both a white-rot and a brown-rot fungus confirming its reputation for high resistance to decay; it is also highly resistant to dry-wood termites and is reported to be moderately resistant to marine borer attack. It is rated as easy to moderately difficult to air season, depending on species; a slow to rapid drying rate is reported; warp and checking ranged from slight to moderate. The wood is moderately difficult to work because of its high density; however, surfaces obtained in planing, boring, sawing, and shaping were smooth and rated as good to excellent. Silica content varies with species and dulling of cutters is also variable. The wood is used for purposes such as heavy construction, ship keels and beams, railroad crossties, industrial flooring and other uses requiring high impact resistance (wagon wheels, tool handles), turnery[316 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A plant of the hot, humid, tropical lowlands[335 ]. Prefers a deep, fertile soil[335 ], though plants are probably not very fussy as to soil type[63 ]. They prefer a sunny position[63 ]. Trees have been known to produce their first crop in less than ten years from seed[63 ]. 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 ]. The seeds take 18 months to mature after flowering[200 ]. It has been estimated that individual trees could produce about 80 kilos of seeds per year[63 ]. 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 , 200 ]. 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 ].

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.

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 - it only has a short period of viability so should be sown as soon as it is ripe[63 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Olla de mono, Moix do sapucaia, Monkey Pot, Monkey Pot Tree, Sapucaia-nut, Coco De Mono

Asia, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Malaysia, SE Asia, South America*, 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.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Lower Risk/least concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lecythis corrugataMahot rouge, GuacharacoTree25.0 10-12 MLMHNM304
Lecythis minorCoco de monoTree15.0 10-12 MLMHNM402
Lecythis pisonisParadise Nut. Brazilian Monkey PotTree40.0 10-12 MMHNMWe323
Lecythis zabucajoSapucaia. Sapucaia nut, Paradise nut, Monkey nutTree30.0 11-12 MLMHNM313

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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