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Lecythis minor - Jacq.

Common Name Coco de mono
Family Lecythidaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards In some areas the seeds are reported to be somewhat toxic. The toxicity may depend on selenium concentration in the soil[317 ]. Selenium poisoning can cause temporary loss of hair and nails and nausea.
Habitats Not known
Range Northwestern S. America - Colombia, Venezuela.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Lecythis minor Coco de mono

Lecythis minor Coco de mono


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Native to Central America and South America, Lecythis minor or Coco de Mono is a tropical woody tree. The leaves are oblong with teeth along the edge. The cream flowers form into groups at the ends of branches. The seed has an excellent flavor and usually eaten raw or roasted. It is rich in oil protein and vitamin B.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Lecythis minor is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) 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


Chyrtoma valida Miers Eschweilera valida (Miers) Niedenzu Lecythis bipartita Pittier Lecythis ellipt

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Seed - raw or roasted[335 ]. An excellent flavour[335 ]. The seed is rich in oil, protein and B vitamins[335 ].

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.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Oil  Wood

Other Uses We have no 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

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Protein-oil

A plant of the hot, humid, tropical lowlands[335 ]. Prefers a deep, fertile soil[335 ].

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: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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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 -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Coco de mono - Spanish

SOUTHERN AMERICA: Venezuela, Colombia

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
Lecythis corrugataMahot rouge, GuacharacoTree25.0 10-12 MLMHNM304
Lecythis ollariaMonkey Pot. Sapucaia nut, Pot nutTree35.0 11-12 SLMHNM303
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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