Dipteryx alata

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dipteryx alata
Scientific classification
D. alata
Binomial name
Dipteryx alata

Dipteryx alata is a large, undomesticated, edible nut-bearing tree from dryish tropical lowlands in central South America belonging to the legume family, Fabaceae, from the Dipterygeae tribe in the Faboideae subfamily.[2]

Vernacular names[edit]

It is known in Spanish as almendro (almond) in Santa Cruz department in southern Bolivia,[3] almendrillo in Pando in northern Bolivia, and shihuahuaco in the Department of Madre de Dios in southern Peru. In both these last two regions it shares the same name with Dipteryx micrantha. Both tree species are also known as mawi in the Ese Eja language spoken there.[4]

The common name baru appears to be the most used in Brazilian Portuguese.[5][6][7][8] A long list of other names used in Brazil have been recorded; some of these names are barujo,[5] coco-feijão,[6] cumaruna,[5] cumarurana,[6] cumbaru,[5][6] emburena-brava[6] feijão-coco[5][6] and imburana-brava.[5] A number of names, such as cumaru[5][6] and pau-cumaru,[5] are shared with the closely-related Amazonian D. odorata, the tonka bean or cumaru tree, due to the similarity of the two trees.[citation needed] Harri Lorenzi complied most of these names in 1992, culled from the herbarium sheets he had collected, and the names can be traced to specific regions.[5]


The German botanist Julius Rudolph Theodor Vogel named the species alata, which means "winged" [9] and refers to the winged petiole of the leaves. As a legume, this tree belongs to the botanical family Fabaceae[10]; this is also known as Leguminosae, and commonly known as the bean, or pea, family.[11] The Dipterygeae tribe is an early branching of the Faboideae subfamily of the legumes, dating ~58 million years and preceding staple legumes such as soybeans, peas or peanuts by ~10 million years. It is quite distant from other less-known legumes such as Inga, Parkia, Tylosema, or tamarinds).[12][13]


The tree can measure up to 25 m in height and 0.7 m in diameter.[14]

It has compound leaves with 6 to 14 leaflets. The greenish-white flowers are 6 to 15mm in diameter.[15]

Young sapling cultivated in São Paulo.

The form of the fruit (a bean pod) is ovoid and contains a juicy flesh within.[15] The fruit has an average weight of 25g and average dimensions of 52.40 ± 4.48mm for length, and 38.31 ± 4.05 mm for width.[7] Of these:

  • 42% is pulp
  • 53% is ligneous endocarp
  • 5% is seed


It is native to Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru.[3][6][15][16][17][18]

Bolivia: It has been recorded in northwestern Bolivia in the province of Abel Iturralde (in northern La Paz Department)[18] and Madre de Dios[4] (in Pando Department),[3] and in southeastern Bolivia in the provinces of Andrés Ibáñez, Chiquitos, Germán Busch, Ichilo, Ñuflo de Chávez, Sara and José Miguel de Velasco (all in Santa Cruz Department). It grows in the tropical savannah of the Chiquitania region.[18] It grows in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park,[3] and is thought to grow in Madidi National Park.[19]

Brazil: It can be found in suitable habitat throughout much of central and western Brazil.[6][17][15][18] It occurs in the north in the states of Pará[15] and Tocantins,[15] in the west in Acre,[18] Amazonas[18] and Rondônia,[15][18] in the northeast in Bahia,[15] Maranhão,[5][15] Piauí[15] and possibly Ceará,[15] in the central-west in Distrito Federal,[15][18] Goiás,[15][18] Mato Grosso[5][15][18] and Mato Grosso do Sul[5][15][18] and in the southeast in Minas Gerais,[5][15][18] Paraná[5][18] and the Atlantic coast of São Paulo.[5][6][15] According to Siqueira et al. (1992) it is almost extinct in the wild in these last two states, but found almost exclusively planted ex situ.[5]

Paraguay: It has been recorded from central eastern Paraguay in the departments of Amambay[16][20] and Concepción.[16]

Peru: It has been recorded in Peru in the departments of Huánuco (Pachitea Province), Loreto (Maynas and Ucayali provinces) and Madre de Dios (Tambopata Province).[21]


Flowers in December in Brazil


Of all the species of Dipteryx this species has the most southerly distribution and is the only one which grows in regions with marked seasons.[5]

It is found in the Amazon, Caatinga and central Brazilian savannah (called Cerrado in Brazil) phytogeographical regions. It grows mostly in the vegetative associations of Cerrado [22], but also in tropical riverine and/or gallery forests, seasonally semi-deciduous tropical forests and Amazonian savannahs.[15]

It grows in areas with soil of low fertility in northern Bolivia,[4] but in Goiás it is typical for Cerrado areas with more soil fertility, where it occurs in a uniform manner. It may reliably be used as an indicator species of such conditions (Macedo, 1992), not occurring where the fertility is naturally very low.[5]

Interspecific relationships[edit]

Unlike most legumes, baru trees harbor no symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in root nodules and in fact depend on fixing nitrogen from water tables with their deep roots.[23]

A tree will produce about 150 kg of fruit per harvest in alternating years, being pollinated by native bees. The fruits are a food source for birds and small mammals, such as rodents, bats, and monkeys.[14][24]


Fruits of Dipteryx alata hanging from a branch in Formosa, Goiás in July

It is used as lumber, for charcoal production and for shade in pastures, by the indigenous peoples of its range. The fruits are often used as feed for cattle. The seeds are a nutritious part of the local communities' diet.[25][26][27]

According to Alexiades some among the Ese Eja people, which have recently started using the hallucinogenic drug ayahuasca, see visions of concrete houses under the influence of this drug, which according to a source interviewed by Alexiades represents a tree of this species. Alexiades theorises that this tree is to be considered a "teacher plant" in the new ayahuasca shamanism that the Ese Eja have adopted and that it, in specific, and trees in general, represents the "future".[4]

Uses for the fruit can be summarized as:[8]

Part of the Fruit Product/Sub-Product Uses
Pulp Pulp in natura Human food
Animal food
Dehydrated Pulp Human food
Animal food
Flour Human food
Alcohol/Liqueur Human consumption
Residues Farming (organic fertilizer)
Seed Raw Seed Human food
Animal food
Agricultural (seeding)
Roasted Seed Human Food
Flour Human Food
Milk Human Food
Oil Human food
Cake Human food
Paste/Butter Human food
Ligneous endocarp Charcoal Fuel
Pyroligneous acid and tar Industrial
Ligneous Endocarp Artisanry


A tree has a useful lifespan of 60 years.[24]

The baru tree grows wild, but there are recent attempts at large scale cultivation. The fruit matures shortly before rain season in the cerrado, which could range between June to October depending on its latitude.

Its brown fruits are either collected from the ground or picked from the tree when they are almost ripe.

Baru fruit extraction is a profitable alternative to deforestation. Several cerrado communities rely on the sale of baru fruits and seeds as a source of revenue.

Food and nutrition[edit]

Baru seeds

Out of the fruit, the pulp is sweet and nutritious. It can be consumed fresh, but is also used to manufacture jams, jellies, and liquors. The seeds should be served after roasting, which deactivates a trypsin inhibitor component, which would otherwise inhibit the bodies' ability to digest protein. The seeds can be eaten as a snack or used as an ingredient for baked goods, cereal bars, pesto sauce, drinks, desserts, and ice cream; the oil extracted from the seeds may be used as a culinary ingredient, comparable to olive oil, and as a cosmetic.[citation needed]

Baru seeds are high in fat, proteins, dietary fibers, magnesium, iron and zinc.[28]

Baru seed, dry-roasted[29]
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy2,238 kJ (535 kcal)
13.6 g
Sugars0.0 g
Dietary fiber9.2 g
42 g
Saturated7.6 g
Monounsaturated21.4 g
Polyunsaturated13.8 g
29 g
VitaminsQuantity %DV
Vitamin E
21.4 mg
MineralsQuantity %DV
110 mg
4.8 mg
164 mg
832 mg
980 mg
4.6 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.


According to an anonymous assessor writing for the IUCN in 1998, this species is vulnerable due to over-collection of the seeds, usage as timber, and habitat loss by intensive farming. However, the IUCN fails to provide references to back up this claim, and use a restricted distribution instead of the actual range.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dipteryx alata in Lista Vermelha da flora brasileira versão 2012.2". CNCFlora. Centro Nacional de Conservação da Flora. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  2. ^ Cardoso, D.; De Queiroz, L. P.; Pennington, R. T.; De Lima, H. C.; Fonty, E.; Wojciechowski, M. F.; Lavin, M. (2012). "Revisiting the phylogeny of papilionoid legumes: New insights from comprehensively sampled early-branching lineages". American Journal of Botany. 99 (12): 1991–2013. doi:10.3732/ajb.1200380. PMID 23221500.
  3. ^ a b c d "Name - Dipteryx alata Vogel". Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Alexiades, Miguel N. (1999). Ethnobotany of the Ese Eja: Plants, Change and Health in an Amazonian Society (PhD). City University of New York. p. 240, 248, 398. CiteSeerX
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Corrêa, Gilmarcos de Carvalho (1999). Avaliação comportamental de plantas de baru (Dipteryx alata Vog.) nos cerrados do Estado de Goiás (PDF) (Sc.D.) (in Portuguese). Universidade Federal de Goiás. Docket 582.825:581.15(817.3). Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Messina, Tainan (4 April 2012). "Dipteryx alata Vogel". CNCFlora (in Portuguese). Centro Nacional de Conservação da Flora. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  7. ^ a b Martins, Bruno De Andrade; Ferraz, Antonio Carlos De Oliveira; Schmidt, Flávio Luis (4 August 2017). "Physical characteristics of baru tree fruit aimed at kernel extraction". Semina: Ciências Agrárias. 38 (4): 1865. doi:10.5433/1679-0359.2017v38n4p1865.
  8. ^ a b Vera, Rosângela; Soares Junior, Manoel Soares; Naves, Ronaldo Veloso; Souza, Eli Regina Barboza de; Fernandes, Eliana Paula; Caliari, Márcio; Leandro, Wilson Mozena (March 2009). "Características químicas de amêndoas de barueiros (dipteryx alata vog.) de ocorrência natural no cerrado do estado de Goiás, Brasil". Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura. 31 (1): 112–118. doi:10.1590/S0100-29452009000100017.
  9. ^ Linnaea : Ein Journal für die Botanik in ihrem ganzen Umfange. F. Dümmler. 1837.
  10. ^ "Dipteryx alata - Useful Tropical Plants".
  11. ^ "Dipteryx — the Plant List".
  12. ^ Cardoso, Domingos; de Queiroz, Luciano P.; Pennington, R. Toby; de Lima, Haroldo C.; Fonty, Émile; Wojciechowski, Martin F.; Lavin, Matt (December 2012). "Revisiting the phylogeny of papilionoid legumes: New insights from comprehensively sampled early-branching lineages". American Journal of Botany. 99 (12): 1991–2013. doi:10.3732/ajb.1200380. PMID 23221500.
  13. ^ Sprent, Janet I. (April 2007). "Evolving ideas of legume evolution and diversity: a taxonomic perspective on the occurrence of nodulation". New Phytologist. 174 (1): 11–25. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02015.x. PMID 17335493.
  14. ^ a b Tambarussi, Evandro Vagner; Sebbenn, Alexandre M.; Alves-Pereira, Alessandro; Vencovsky, Roland; Cambuim, Jose; Da Silva, Alexandre; Moraes, Marcela; De Moraes, Mario L.T. (15 September 2017). "Dipteryx alata Vogel (Fabaceae) a neotropical tree with high level of selfing: implication for conservation and breeding programs". Annals of Forest Research. 0. doi:10.15287/afr.2017.842.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Carvalho, C.S. "Brazilian Flora Checklist - Dipteryx alata Vogel". Dipteryx in Flora do Brasil 2020 under construction. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "Flora del Conosur" (in Spanish). Instituto de Botánica Darwinion. 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  17. ^ a b de Lima, H.C.; Lima, I.B. (24 September 2014). "Dipteryx alata Vogel". Dipteryx in Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil (in Portuguese). Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Name - Dipteryx alata Vogel". Vascular Plants of the Americas. Missouri Botanical Garden. 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Name - Dipteryx alata Vogel". Listado de la Flora del Parque Nacional Madidi, Bolivia. Missouri Botanical Garden. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Name - Dipteryx alata Vogel". Inventario Biologico de Paraguay. Missouri Botanical Garden. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Name - Dipteryx alata Vogel". Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru. Missouri Botanical Garden. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  22. ^ https://www.alice.cnptia.embrapa.br/alice/bitstream/doc/1074669/1/baru.pdf
  23. ^ Zuffo, Alan Mario; Júnior, Joacir Mario Zuffo; Carvalho, Rezânio Martins; dos Santos, Adaniel Sousa; Oliveira, João Batista da Silva; Fonseca, Wéverson Lima (25 January 2017). "Response of baru (Dipteryx alata Vog.) seedlings to liming and NPK application". Journal of Plant Nutrition. 40 (9): 1332–1338. doi:10.1080/01904167.2016.1267210.
  24. ^ a b Ragusa-Netto, J. (16 March 2017). "Seed removal of Dipteryx alata Vog. (Leguminosae: Faboidae) in the edge and interior of Cerrado". Brazilian Journal of Biology. 77 (4): 752–761. doi:10.1590/1519-6984.20715.
  25. ^ Paniagua Zambrana, Narel Y.; Bussmann, Rainer W.; Hart, Robbie E.; Moya Huanca, Araceli L.; Ortiz Soria, Gere; Ortiz Vaca, Milton; Ortiz Álvarez, David; Soria Morán, Jorge; Soria Morán, María; Chávez, Saúl; Chávez Moreno, Bertha; Chávez Moreno, Gualberto; Roca, Oscar; Siripi, Erlin (10 October 2017). "Traditional knowledge hiding in plain sight – twenty-first century ethnobotany of the Chácobo in Beni, Bolivia". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 13 (1): 57. doi:10.1186/s13002-017-0179-2. PMC 5634836. PMID 29017576.
  26. ^ "Cultura (Cosmovisión) y Salud entre los Ese'Ejja | FlacsoAndes".
  27. ^ "Inventario de Recursos Curativos en Centros de Expendio Formales e Informales: Puerto Maldonado | FlacsoAndes".
  28. ^ Fernandes, Daniela C; Freitas, Jullyana B; Czeder, Ludmila P; Naves, Maria Margareth V (2010). "Nutritional composition and protein value of the baru (Dipteryx alata Vog.) almond from the Brazilian Savanna" (PDF). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 90 (10): 1650–1655. doi:10.1002/jsfa.3997. PMID 20564449.
  29. ^ De Oliveira Sousa, Amanda Goulart; Fernandes, Daniela Canuto; Alves, Aline Medeiros; De Freitas, Jullyana Borges; Naves, Maria Margareth Veloso (2011). "Nutritional quality and protein value of exotic almonds and nut from the Brazilian Savanna compared to peanut". Food Research International. 44 (7): 2319–2325. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2011.02.013. INIST:24462545.
  30. ^ World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998. Dipteryx alata. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.blavla Downloaded on 10 July 2007
  • Siqueira, Egle Machado de Almeida; Marin, Alinne Martins Ferreira; Da Cunha, Marcela de Sá Barreto; Fustinoni, Adriana Medeiros; De Sant'Ana, Lívia Pimentel; Arruda, Sandra Fernandes (2012). "Consumption of baru seeds [Dipteryx alata Vog.], a Brazilian savanna nut, prevents iron-induced oxidative stress in rats". Food Research International. 45: 427–433. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2011.11.005. INIST:25499152.
  • Fernandes, Daniela Canuto; Alves, Aline Medeiros; Castro, Gabriela Salim Ferreira; Jordao Junior, Alceu Afonso; Naves, Maria Margareth Veloso (2015). "Effects of Baru Almond and Brazil Nut Against Hyperlipidemia and Oxidative Stress in Vivo". Journal of Food Research. 4 (4): 38–46. doi:10.5539/jfr.v4n4p38.