This tropical nut is also included, as it thrives well in Porto Rico, the Philippines, and Cuba. It is not hardy anywhere in the United States, and the commercial supply comes mainly from Brazil and other parts of tropical South America, and is grown on native wild trees. It is one of the largest trees of the tropical forests. The nuts - from eighteen to twenty-five in number - are enclosed in a hard shell. The great balls of fruit are five to eight inches in diameter, and fall heavily to the earth when the nuts are ripe. So far as known to the writer, it has never been cultivated, yet it is one of the leading commercial nuts of the world, under the name of cream-nut, nigger-toe, or Brazil-nut.
Although in its native tropical forests it reaches a height of one hundred and thirty feet, the isolated trees grown from the nut by amateurs in Cuba spread out, making handsome round-topped trees that bear bountiful crops quite as young as do our nut trees of the North. If the great supply of forest nuts from Brazil is cut short by forest clearing, or in other way, the cultivation of this valuable nut in Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines may become profitable. This is the more probable, as the use of its oil is on the increase. It has long been the oil used by watch-makers and repairers, and for all delicate machinery, and its use by artists and in high-grade cookery is rapidly increasing. The latest publications do not speak of improved varieties of cream- or Brazil-nut, but in 1901, for the first time, a variety of the nut appears in American groceries that is a decided improvement. The shell is soft, wrinkled, and the undulations extend to the nut. The grocers report this soft-shelled variety perfect in nearly all cases, while a large per cent of the common cream-nuts are abortive.