1.) The Cashew
Itching for cashews? Quite literally so. Cashews belong to the same plant family as poison ivy. The oil substance responsible for the itch is contained in the poisonous shell of the cashew. Best not to handle or chew the raw shell, then.
2.) The Peanut
- Nuts about peanuts? Americans are, too.
- Peanuts originated in South America.
- Six American cities are named Peanut.
- Boiled peanuts are the official snack food of South Carolina.
- 20% of the world’s peanuts are designated for chocolate manufacturers and candy.
- Want to become the next president? Become a peanut farmer! Both President Thomas Jefferson and President Jimmy Carter where peanut farmers.
- Oh, and a peanut is also not a nut. As the name partially suggests, it is a pea. How’s that for two peas in a pod?
3). The Macadamia
Nature must have a sense of humour. Of all nuts, the macadamia boasts the hardest shell. It requires an impressive 300 psi to crack open a macadamia. Macadamias are a fantastic source of nutrients, and while there certainly are animals that do possess the necessary jaw power to crack one open, like the saltwater crocodile, with an astounding jaw power of between 3700 to 7700 psi; the hippo, biting down at around 1800 psi, and hyenas, lions and tigers ripping into a carcass at around 1000 psi, none of these animals would be all that interested in the macadamia.
The macaw, on the other hand, does have an interest in nuts, and does have a jaw strong enough to bite through the hard shell to get to the treat inside. However, while the macadamia is originally from Australia, the macaw is not. In fact, there are no native Australian herbivores that are equipped to crack open the hard shell of the macadamia. How’s that for a tease, then?
4). The Brazil Nut
Good things come to those who wait, or so they say. In the case of the Brazil nut, it’s absolutely true. The Brazil tree usually only starts to bear fruit at twelve years of age. The fruit themselves take around fifteen months to develop to maturity, after which they drop to ground, wherefrom they are harvested for their seeds. And yes, I did say for the seeds. Brazil nuts aren’t actually nuts. They are seeds.
As if this painstakingly slow process is not enough, the Brazil tree can only be pollinated by a certain family of bees, and because these bees are referred to as ‘non-social,’ or ‘semi-social,’ they feel under no pressure to make haste with pollination.
5). The Walnut
Jupiter’s royal acorn? Is that a nut? Yup. It sure is. Ancient Romans had such adoration for the humble walnut that they called it ‘Juglans regia,’ or in modern English, Jupiter’s royal acorn.
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Jupiter was worshipped as Jupiter Optimus Maximus (all-good, all-powerful). Jupiter was the king of the gods; the god of the sky; the god of light.
Walnuts were revered for their medicinal value, and was believed to counteract poison, relieve inflammation, and even cure baldness.
A final thought… What do:
brazil nuts and walnuts have in common?
Well, none of them are actual nuts…