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Gevuina avellana (Chilean hazel, avellano chileno in Spanish) is an evergreen tree, up to 20 meters (65 feet) tall. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Gevuina. It is native to southern Chile and adjacent valleys in Argentina. It is found from sea level to 700 meters (2300 feet) above sea level. Its distribution extends from 35° to 44° south latitude. The composite leaves are bright green and toothed, and the tree is in flower between July and November. The flowers are very small and beige to whitish, are bisexual and group two by two in long racemes. The fruit is a dark red nut when young and turns black. It can grow up straight or branched from the soil.
The name Gevuina comes from guevin, the Mapuche Indian name for the Chilean hazel.
Gevuina is a genus of either 1 or 3 species of the family Proteaceae. In some classifications, Gevuinia is recognised with three species endemic to each of Australia (Gevuina bleasdalei), New Guinea (Gevuina papuana), and one species in Chile and Argentina (Gevuina avellana). Other taxonomic reports place the Australian and New Guinea species in the genus Bleasdalea or in the Fijian endemic genus Turrillia, and leave Gevuina with only Gevuina avellana. The Flora of Australia retains these 2 species in Gevuinia, but the most recent classification places the Australian and New Guinea species as Bleasdalea bleasdalei and B. papuana
The seeds are eaten raw, cooked in boiling water or toasted. The nuts contain about 12 percent protein, 49 percent oil, and 24 percent carbohydrates. The seed has a very high concentration of monounsaturated oils and is also obtained for several purposes in Chile. It is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E (α-tocotrienol) and β-carotene. Its oil is an ingredient in some sunscreens. Gevuina oil is a used as cosmetic ingredient for its moisturizing qualities and because it is a source of omega 7 fatty acids (palmitoleic acid).
The tree is a good honey plant for bees and is also cultivated as ornamental. . The seed shells contain tannin that is used for tanning leather. The tree has an acceptable frost resistance (at least −12 °C (10 °F)) when mature. The wood is cream-colored with dark brown streaking and is used in cabinetry and musical instruments. It was introduced to Great Britain in 1826. It grows well there and in New Zealand and California. A few specimens are cultivated in Spain and in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It grows well in temperate oceanic climates with cool temperatures where frosts occur commonly in winter, and has thrived in southern New Zealand. It needs 5 years to first harvest and 7 or 8 years for full production. In Seattle, Washington, squirrels and birds eat seeds from the trees. Most nuts that are for sale are gathered from the wild, but new varieties of greater yield are being developed in both Chile and New Zealand.