|Distribution||Originally native to northeastern Brazil, the tree is now widely grown in tropical regions, India and Nigeria being major producers, in addition to Vietnam, the Ivory Coast, and Indonesia.|
The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen that produces the cashew nut and the cashew apple. It can grow as high as 14 metres (46 ft), but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 metres (20 ft), has proved more profitable, with earlier maturity and higher yields.
The cashew nut is served as a snack or used in recipes, like other nuts, although it is actually a seed. The cashew apple is a fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liqueur.
|Distribution||These wild nuts grow in clusters on the Hazel tree in temperate zones around the world. Hazel is an aggressive spreader and is particularly common in Europe as a wild growth, where it has played a significant role in the development of the present forest ecology. Archaeology shows that the nuts were a prehistoric food and the wood a building material, and that tree populations were not adversely affected by land clearance for Neolithic farming.|
The nuts of all hazels are edible. The common hazel is the species most extensively grown for its nuts, followed in importance by the filbert. Nuts are also harvested from the other species, but apart from the filbert, none is of significant commercial importance. Hazel is a traditional material used for making wattle, withy fencing, baskets, and the frames of coracle boats. The tree can be coppiced, and regenerating shoots allow for harvests every few years.
Hazels have simple, rounded leaves with double-serrate margins. The flowers are produced very early in spring before the leaves, and are monoecious, with single-sex catkins, the male catkins are pale yellow and 5-12 cm long, and the female ones are very small and largely concealed in the buds, with only the bright-red, 1- to 3-mm-long styles visible. The fruits are nuts 1-2.5 cm long and 1-2 cm diameter, surrounded by an involucre (husk) which partly to fully encloses the nut.
|Genus/species||Arachis / A. hypogaea|
|Distribution||Peanuts were first cultivated in South America, as early as 3000 BC. Portuguese explorers transplanted Peanut plants to Africa, and from there they were carried by explorers to the rest of the world.|
Peanuts are the seeds of an annual legume, which grows close to the ground and produces its fruit below the soil surface. This is in contrast to tree nuts like Walnuts and Almonds. Peanut is a member of the Fabaceae or legume family, whereas tree nuts are not. The Peanut plant is oval-leafed and about 45 cm tall. Delicate yellow flowers develop around the lower portion. The flowers pollinate themselves and then lose their petals as the fertilised ovary begins to enlarge. The budding ovary or “peg” grows down toward the soil. The Peanut embryo burrows into the soil surface and begins to mature, taking the form of the Peanut.
Multiple Peanut varieties are grown in the USA, with more than 40% of the American Peanut crop consumed as Peanut butter. Runners have become the dominant Peanut type grown in the U.S. due to the spectacular increase in yield that they allow; they are a very important source of Peanut butter. Virginias have the largest kernels and account for most of the Peanuts roasted and sold in their shells.
|Distribution||Throughout the East and Central portions of North America|
|Comments||Bark of older trees thick and furrowed, dark blackish-brown; branches with conspicuous, shield-shaped leaf scars. Alternate, pinnate, feather-like, 8″-2′ long, with 15-23 leaflets, those at the end smallest; leaflets broadly lance-shaped, pointed at tip, toothed along margins and unevenly rounded at base, up to 3.5″ long, 1.5″ wide. Nut enclosed by a fleshy husk, about 2″ in diameter|
|Distribution||Soybeans were a crucial crop in East Asia long before written records began. Their cultivation was long confined chiefly to China and Manchuria. but gradually spread to other East Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. They are now a major crop in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, India, and China. Prior to fermented products such as fermented black soybeans (douchi), jiang (Chinese miso), soy sauce, tempeh, natto, and miso, soy was considered sacred for its beneficial effects in crop rotation. Soy was introduced to Africa from China in the late 19th century, and is now widespread across the continent.|
|Comments||Soybeans are a globally important crop, providing oil and protein. In the United States, the bulk of the harvest is solvent-extracted with hexane, and the “toasted” defatted soymeal (50% protein) then makes possible the raising of farm animals (e.g. chicken, hog, turkey) on an industrial scale never before seen in human history. A very small proportion of the crop is consumed directly by humans. Soybean products do, however, appear in a large variety of processed foods.