We depend on donations from users of our database of over 8000 edible and useful plants to keep making it available free of charge and to further extend and improve it. In recent months donations are down, and we are spending more than we receive. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


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


Translate this page:


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.


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

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More


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

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


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".

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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.


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



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.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Caryocar nuciferum  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.