Warm Climate Nuts

Course CodeBHT308
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Explore Nuts Grown In The Sub Tropics and Tropics

  • Learn identification and culture of nut crops in warmer climates
  • Suitable for mild temperate to tropical climates
  • Explore and discover plants you may not have even encountered before.
  • Discover opportunities for self sufficiency or commercial production.

For most people, a nut is a type of food and a delightful food at that! Strictly speaking, not all nuts are edible; but this course is only concerned with edible nuts and in particular, the ones that are grown more extensively around the world in warm climates.

The needs and tolerances of tropical nuts can vary quite considerably, for example certain tropical areas may experience frosts, others can be dry and others wet. There are so many varieties worth trying that it is worth learning about them all!
Do You Know About these Tropical Nut Bearing Plants?
There's more to tropical nuts than just Cashews!
  • Anacolosa frutescens (Promising Nut or Galo) 
  • Anacolosa frutescens (Promising Nut or Galo) 
  • Bactris gasipaes (Sweet Plum or Palm Chestnut)
  • Brabejum stellatifolium (Wild almond)
  • Caryocar brasiliense (Pequia Oil Plant) 
  • Couepia longipedula (Egg Nut, Pendula Nut)
  • Finschia spp. (Pipipi)
  • Lemuropisum edule (Tara)  
  • Pachira aquatica (Malabar Chestnut)
  • Pandanus spp. (Screw Pines)
  • Paullinia cupana (Guarana/Brazilian Cocoa)
  • Telfairia pedata (Oyster Nut)
  • Terminalia catappa (Tropical Almond)

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • What is a Nut?
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Main family groups of nuts
    • Family Juglandaceae
    • Family Corylaceae
    • Family Characteristics
    • Family Fagaceae
    • Family Proteaceae
    • Family Burseraceae
    • Family Lecthidaceae
    • Family Sterculiaceae
    • Family Anacardiaceae
    • Family Rosaceae
    • Family Leguminosae
    • Family Asteraceae
    • Family Cucurbitaceae
    • Family Palmaceae
    • Family Pinaceae
    • Information contacts (i.e. nurseries, seed, clubs etc.)
    • Potential for Nut Growing
  2. Nut Plant Culture
    • Terminology
    • Soil and Nutrition Management
    • Planting,water management, plant health, pruning, etc.
  3. Propagation of Nut Plants
    • Seed
    • Cuttings
    • Propagating Media
    • Hardening off Young plants
    • Layering
    • Budding and grafting
  4. The Macadamia
    • Macadamia growing in Australia & elsewhere
    • Cultivars
    • Macadamia recipes
  5. The Pecan
    • Nutritional components of the nut
    • Culture
    • Climate
    • Propagation
    • Cultivars
    • Problems
    • Uses
  6. Other Varieties which Grow in Warm Climates
    • Pistachio
    • Cashew
    • Peanut
    • Almond
    • Baobab (Andersonia)
    • Brazil Nut
    • Coconut
    • Guarana
    • Cola
    • Sunflower
    • Cocoa
    • Coffee
    • Sesame Seed
    • Others are reviewed briefly, including: Pili Nut, Acacia, Hausa Ground Nut etc
  7. Selecting a site and planting a plot.
    • Site Selection and management
    • Site characteristics
    • Climate
    • Biological characteristics
    • Water
    • Other factors
    • Using weedicides with nut plantings
  8. Growing, harvesting and using nuts.
    • Harvest and storage of nuts
    • Sorting, Cleaning, Drying
    • Uses for nuts - food, crafts, timber etc


  • Classify nuts into different plant families
  • Find sources of organisations specific to nut production
  • Describe the cultural requirements of tropical nuts, as most of the varieties we look at are for the tropics or warm climates.
  • Explain the characteristics of soils and plant nutrition,plant health, watering techniques,environmental protection for your crops,pest and disease management
    • Techniques for pruning and maintenance
  • Propagate nut trees; propagation from nut seeds and cuttings grafting, layering, establishing rootstocks
  • Describe the culture of important warm climate nuts including Macadamia, Pecan nut trees, Pistachio, Cashew, Almond and Brazil nut.
    • Discuss other varieties you never knew existed, are looked at
  • Explain establishment and horticultural management of tropical nut trees.
  • Explain site selection for successful cultivation, planting techniques and factors affecting the selection of a site.
  • Describe the harvesting and storage of nuts.


Botanists define a nut as follows:
"A dry, indehiscent, one seeded fruit, somewhat similar to an achene, but the product of more than one carpel, and usually larger with a hard woody wall"
(Reference: A Dictionary of Biology by Abercrombie et al, published by Penguin).

If you do not quite understand this description:

Indehiscent simply means that the fruit does not break open readily and release the seed
(Note: Legumes such as wattles or peas in contrast are dehiscent fruits -they dry, and then drop seeds while the dry fruits are still attached to the plant).

An achene is a simple, thin walled fruit and contains only one seed. A strawberry in fact is a large number of individual tiny achenes which cover a fleshy receptacle (Note. The fleshy receptacle is what we eat as a strawberry; while the fruits and seeds are tiny gritty bits covering the surface).

Many types of plants have nuts as fruits; some are grown commercially as edible food products, and others are not.

Nuts are produced by the following trees; Quercus (oaks), Pecan, Filbert, Hickory, Macadamia, Hazelnut and others.

Commercial growers and home gardeners may be less rigid in the way they define a nut. Generally nuts are edible fruits or parts of fruits which are hard, relatively dry (unlike fleshy fruits), and are able to be roasted for eating, or in many cases, may be eaten fresh.

In some cases, the roasting may destroy undesirable chemicals in the nut, or may enhance the flavour.

In the strict botanical sense, a peanut would not be a nut, because there can be more than one seed inside a fruit; however peanuts are perhaps the most widely grown commercial nut in the world.

Nuts above all have a distinct advantage over other fruits in their keeping quality: being a dry product, they are less susceptible to spoilage, and will generally store well without any sophisticated or expensive storage treatments. This characteristic alone extends their marketing life, and can eliminate many problems associated with other types of crops.
(Note: they may need protection from pests though (e.g. rodents and other vermin).

There are many nuts which are grown and eaten in one region, but not commonly heard of in other parts of the world. This is particularly the case in many tropical areas, where nuts which are eaten by local people may offer significant potential for future commercial cropping.

There are literally hundreds of different nuts which can be grown, representing dozens of different families.  Unlike other groups of plants, it is extremely hard to generalize when considering 'how to grow nuts'.  You will find common needs for nuts which belong to the one plant family, however, between families, the requirements can vary greatly.

The tropical nut trees you choose will be dependent on your locality as conditions can vary quite considerably even in tropical area, for example certain tropical areas may experience frosts. Some tropical nut trees can tolerate mild frosts, macadamias for example, if grown inland, prefer growing in higher altitudes due to an intolerance to excessive heat, they do however tolerate light frosts and also grow well in  coastal plantings.

 Who Could Benefit From this Course?

  • Nurserymen, gardeners, horticulturists, plant enthusiasts
  • Businessmen, farmers, entrepreneurs
  • Hobby farmers, home gardeners, anyone interested in nuts for self sufficiency
  • Students of horticulture, food and sustainability
  • Nut crop producers
  • Those looking to break into this industry
  • Backyard enthusiasts





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