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The Chocolate Nut-tree.

Botanical name:

Cacao.

THIS is an American tree, very beautiful, as well as very valuable for its fruit. The trunk is of the thickness of a man's leg, and the height of fifteen feet; but in this it differs greatly according to the soil; and the size of the fruit also will differ from the same cause, whence some have talked of four different kinds of the chocolate nut. The tree grows very regularly. The surface is uneven, for the bark rises into tubercles; the leaves are half a foot long, three inches broad, of a fine strong green, and pointed at the ends. The flowers are small and yellowish, and they grow in clusters from the branches, and even from the trunk of the tree; but each has its separate stalk. The fruit is of the shape of a cucumber, half a foot long, and thicker than a man's wrist; this is ridged, and, when ripe, of a purplish colour, with some tinct of yellow. The cacao nuts, as they are called, are lodged within this fruit; every fruit contains between twenty and thirty of them. They are of the bigness of a large olive, but not so thick: and are composed of a woody shell, and a large kernel, which affords the chocolate.

The common way of taking this in chocolate is not the only one in which it may be given; the nut itself may be put into electuaries. It is very nourishing and restorative.


The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.



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