Hi everyone! Today we’ll discuss a bit of the genealogy of Baru trees. A lot of people ask how close they are to other Legumes, particularly peanuts and soy, or even tree nuts due to allergy concerns.
Well, the answer to the Legumes question: barely related. Our baru branch, Dipterygeae, is one of the basal tribes of the Papilionoid or Fabaceae family (the Legumes mega-branch). One could say baru is an “ancient” or “primitive” Legume! Check out the graph below to understand the path:
You can see more familiar Legumes, such as peanuts and soy, sharing a common ancestry and being phylogenetically “more recent” (~50 million years) in comparison to baru (~60 million years ago).
Having evolved in relative isolation from other branches, the baru tree developed its own traits, narrowly adapted to the savanna. Having co-evolved over millions of years with pollinators, such as native bees, and seed dispersers, such as birds and bats, it’s a one of a kind tree completely immersed into its ecosystem, the Cerrado.
Ok. What about tree nuts?
“Tree nut” is an umbrella term that includes species from mainly Fagaceae (walnuts and hazelnuts), but also orders Rosaceae (almonds), Sapindaceae (cashews) and Ericaceae (Brazil nuts), and those have no relation with Dipterygeae or even Papilionoid other than sprouting from the ground. They have distinct fruits (or not even), very different seeds and distinct physiologies.
It’s essentially comparing a helicopter to a plane and a glider: they all fly, but use very different means for that. Due to this genetic distance and unique nature, there are no known cases of cross allergies of baru and other Legumes or tree nuts. One could say they’re peanut-free and nut-free by default, but that also depends on how and where they’re processed along the supply chain.
Did you know? Baru Baron’s baru seeds are certified peanut-free and nut-free!
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