The hard-shelled fruits we call nuts to differ widely in size and flavor. Walnuts, with their crinkly, hard shells enclosed in a round, husk, are a favorite in this country. Long ago, Oriental princes sent them as presents to rulers of lands where the walnut tree did not grow.
The chestnut, too, has long been valued. There are famous old chestnut trees reputed to be over 500 hundred years old, and, in Spain especially, this tree is highly prized.
A nut that is very hard to crack but most delicious to eat is the Brazil nut. These three-sided nuts grow in clusters of twenty or more, tightly packed in a hard, round shell. As soon as the nut is ripe, it falls to the ground, and, as the trees are often over thirty meters high, it is not surprising that the natives will avoid in a strong wind!
The almond tree with white blossoms produces bitter almonds, which are used in the manufacture of flavoring extract and drugs used in medicine. Sweet almonds come from the tree with pink blossoms, which is grown extensively in Western Asia, in the Mediterranean region, and in California.
The most valuable of all nuts, however, is the coconut. At first, it grew only along the East Indies coast in the South Sea Islands, but it is now found in the tropics of all the continents. Its food value is high because it cantatas much oil and some protein.
One native English nut is the hazel, which is grown mainly in Kent. Hazelnuts lie in leafy cups in clusters of two, three, or four, and from their light brown shade we get the color “hazel”.