Caryocar brasiliense - Cambess.
Common Name Pequi, Souari nut
Family Caryocaraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The seed has a large number of small spines which can injure the mucous membranes of the mouth[ 419 ].
Habitats Forms pure groves in the plateaux and valleys of the savannah, elsewhere it is usually found as scattered individuals[ 324 ]. Found in both primary and secondary formations[ 419 ].
Range S. America - northern Argentina, southern, eastern, central and northern Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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Pequi or ?souari nut? (Caryocar brasiliense) is a popular fruit tree in Brazil. It is relatively slow-growing and drought tolerant when fully established. It grows up to 10 m tall with a crooked bole, deep taproot, and rounded, spreading crown. The palmate leaves are large, tough, and hairy. The flowers are hermaphrodite and yellowish-white in colour. The fruit is dark purple but turns to green as it ripens. It is strongly scented with a sweet, fleshy pulp. The seeds yield edible oil which is mainly used for flavouring, in cosmetics, soap making, as an illuminant and lubricant. Pequi has several medicinal uses. In particular, the bark is used to induce urination and reduce fever, and the fruits and seed oil (with honey) can both be used separately against cold and bronchitis. The wood is used for engraving, construction, furniture, etc.

Caryocar brasiliense Pequi, Souari nut
Caryocar brasiliense Pequi, Souari nut
Mateus Hidalgo
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Caryocar brasiliense is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. and are pollinated by Bats, Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Acantacaryx pinguis Arruda ex Koster Caryocar intermedium Wittm.

Edible Uses
Edible portion: Fruit, Nut. The oily, mucilaginous fruit is nutritious[ 324 ]. A strongly scented, fleshy pulp[ 416 , 419 ]. It has a sweet flavour, but is an acquired taste and is mainly used as a flavouring or as a famine food[ 324 ]. The fruit is eaten fresh or used for sweets and liqueur. The fruit, including the seed, is cooked with rice[ 419 ]. A kind of butter and suet are extracted from the fruit[ 419 ]. The kernel is rarely eaten because of endocarp spines[ 324 ]. The seed has a large number of small spines which can injure the mucous membranes of the mouth[ 419 ]. The seeds are the source of an edible oil that is mainly used for flavouring[ 324 ]. The high melting point of the oil may give it potential as a cocoa butter substitute[ 324 ]
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 flowers, fruits and seeds are used in local medicine[ 324 ]. The bark is diuretic and febrifuge[ 739 ]. The fruits are used in the treatment of the common cold and bronchitis[ 739 ]. The seed oil, combined with honey, is used in the treatment of the common cold and bronchitis[ 739 ]. The leaves contain triterpenes, sterols and ellagic acid[ 739 ].


Other Uses
Other uses rating: Low (2/5). Other Uses The oil from the seed is used in the cosmetic industry and locally for making soap, as an illuminant and lubricant[ 324 ]. The leaves, bark and fruit pulp are a source of tannin[ 324 ]. The wood is moderately heavy, soft, of good natural durability. It is used for engraving, construction, wooden machinery parts, furniture, fences etc[ 324 , 419 ]. The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[ 324 ]. Attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. Suitable for xeriscaping.
Cultivation details
Management: Standard;  Regional Crop;  Staple Crop: Oil.

A plant of the drier tropics and subtropics, it grows naturally in areas with an annual rainfall of 1,000 - 1,500 mm and a dry season of 3 - 5 months, with a relative humidity as low as 13%[ 324 ]. Requires a sunny position[ 419 ]. Adapted to nutrient poor, heavy clays, especially iron and aluminium rich soils[ 324 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[ 324 , 419 ]. Large trees may yield up 2,000 fruits[ 324 ]. A fairly slow-growing tree, reaching a height of up to 1.5 metres when two years old[ 419 ]. The tree has potential as an oil crop for the drier regions of the world, being well-adapted to nutrient poor soils and long dry seasons[ 324 ]. A cultivated fruit tree.
Seeds - they contain a germination inhibitor and can take one year to germinate;[ 324 , 419 ]. Stratification of the endocarp with mesocarp removed is recommended[ 324 ]. Alternatively, immerse the seeds in warm water for 48 hours, changing the water every 12 hours[ 419 ]. Sow the seed in individual containers in a sunny or lightly shaded position. Pre-soaked seed can sprout within 30 - 50 days with a moderate germination rate[ 419 ]. Seedlings can be planted out when 25 cm tall[ 324 ]. Good results can be obtained from grafting and marcottage[ 324 ].
Other Names
Pequi or Òsouari nutÓ (Caryocar brasiliense). Other Names: Pequi, Piquia-oil plant , Piqui, Choky apple, Piquia-bravo, Amendoa-de-espinho, Grao-de-cavalo, Pequia, Pequia-pedra, Pequerim, Suari, Piquia, Brazilian souari nut Broadleaved Lucuma.
Found In
Found In: Amazon, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, South America.
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 : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants


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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
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Subject : Caryocar brasiliense  

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