Nuts of the Public Domain

We’ve amassed quite the collection of public domain images over the past few years. TofuJoe now has over 2600 illustrations! So we’re taking a bit of a breather… slowing down (but not stopping) our work temporarily on restoring ‘new’ images. This allows us to focus on making sure the images we have already completed are perfect in every way, with clean edges and brilliant colors.


Cashew Anacardium occidentale (1780)

Cashews grow in such a strange and beautiful way! This cashew illustration shows both cashew nuts and cashew apples. When we first began working on this image we wondered why some of the cashews were drawn hanging off fruits and some weren’t, but then we realized that the cashew nut develops before the fruit! The teeny-tiny pear-shaped green shapes on the cashews are actually the developing fruit. The fruit is edible, and described as citrus, mango, cucumber and bell pepper (what a crazy mix!), although it is quite astringent. It also bruises easily and has a limited shelf-life, which is why most people are much more familiar with the cashew nut.


Frotscher pecan Carya illinoinensis (1904)

Pecans, pecans, pecans! There may not be anything as American as apple pie, but pecan pie must be a close second. Pecans are native to northern Mexico and the southern United States and are actually a species of hickory. In fact, this watercolor from the US Pomological collection is labelled as a “Frotscher hickory”. With the pecan’s sweet buttery flavor it isn’t a surprise that many U.S. states have chosen the nut as a state symbol. Alabama, Arkansas and California all chose the pecan as their state nut (although California has 4 nuts: almond, pistachio, walnut and pecan). Texas claims pecan pie as their state pie, and the pecan nut as their ‘health nut’, which seems like an oddly specific category!

Nutmeg and Mace

Nutmeg Myristica fragrans (1900)

Nutmeg is a spice that comes from the seeds of the plant Myristica fragrans native to Indonesia. While most nutmeg is produced in Indonesia, the plant also grows in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka and South America. Nutmeg is made by grinding the seeds of Myristica fragrans into a powder. It is known for its strong fragrance and warm, nutty, slightly sweet taste, and is used to flavor many baked goods, sausages, puddings, and beverages like eggnog. The spice mace also comes from Myristica fragrans. Mace is made by grinding the red seed covering (aril), and is described as having a flavor similar to nutmeg but more delicate.

Pine nuts

Chilgoza Pine cone (1840)

Pine nuts are the edible seeds from pine trees. There are 29 species of pine trees with edible nuts, and 20 of these species have pine nuts large enough to viably commercially harvest. The Chilgoza pine above is native to the northwestern Himalayas.

Hope you enjoyed our public domain nuts… although we have to admit that all four: cashews, pecans, nutmeg and pine nuts are all botanically classified as seeds!! 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

Now that’s nuts! Err… seeds!

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