Family Ties

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 or even tree nuts.

Well, the answer is: not a lot. Our baru branch, Dipterygeae, is one of the basal tribes of the Papilionoid or Fabaceae family (also known as Legumes), and a relatively unspecialized one. One could say baru is an “ancient” or “primitive” Legume! Check out the graph below to understand the path:


Later in the evolution tree, you can find more traditional Legumes, such as peanuts and soy, phylogenetically “more recent” (~50 million years) in comparison to baru (~60 million years ago).

Having evolved in relative isolation from other branches, first as a rainforest species, and then developing further into South America, baru developed its own characteristics, adapted to the savanna. It’s one of a kind.


Ok, so we’ve covered them not being related to peanuts and soy. What about tree nuts?

“Tree nuts” is an umbrella term that involves species from mainly Fagaceae (walnuts and hazelnuts), but also other orders Rosaceae (almonds),  Sapindaceae (cashews) and Ericaceae (Brazil nuts), and those have very little to do with Dipterygeae other than sprouting from the ground and having flowers and seeds.

It’s essentially comparing a helicopter to a plane: they both fly, but use very different means for that. For this, there are no known cases of cross allergies of baru with other Legumes or tree nuts.

One could say they’re peanut-free and nut-free by default, but of course, 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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IBGE. Manuais Técnicos em Geociências número 1: Manual Técnico da
Vegetação Brasileira. Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 2012.

Gupta S, Nadarajan N, Gupta DS. Legumes in the Omic Era. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.

Oliveira MIB, Sigrist MR. Fenologia reprodutiva, polinização e reprodução de Dipteryx alata Vogel (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) em Mato Grosso do Sul, Brasil. Revista Brasil. Bot., V.31, n.2, p.195-207, abr.-jun. 2008

Wojciechowski MF,  Lavin M, Sanderson MJ. A phylogeny of legumes (Leguminosae) based on analysis of the plastid matK gene resolves many well-supported subclades within the family. Am. J. Bot. November 2004 vol. 91 no. 11 1846-1862.