The Brazil Nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa) is the only species in the genus Bertholletia. It is native to South America and is among the largest trees in the Amazonian rainforest, occurring in non-flooded (terra firme) forests of the Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield. Because of the structure of the flowers, pollen is accessible only to larger bees such as Xylocopa species and female euglossines. The flowers are essentially self-sterile. The slow-developing fruit is a large, round woody capsule, 0.5 to 2.5 kg, which contains the seeds (i.e., the "brazil nuts" of commerce). Most brazil nuts in commerce are collected from wild trees, the fallen fruits being split open with an axe to reach the 10 to 25 seeds packed within like the sections of an orange. There is some risk to collectors of injury or even death from being hit on the head by falling fruit. Brazil nuts contain up to 17% protein and 65 to 70% of a monounsaturated (almost 50% aflatoxins that may be produced by certain fungi infecting brazil nuts.
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