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  1. Family: Arecaceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Genus: Euterpe Mart.
      1. Euterpe oleracea Mart.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Trinidad to S. Tropical America. It is used to treat unspecified medicinal disorders and for food.


    The Useful Plants of Boyacá project

    Least concern.
    Native from Colombia.
    Alt. 0 - 200 m.

    Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.

    Nativa en Colombia; Alt. 0 - 200 m.; Pacífico, Valle del Magdalena.
    Árbol, palma cespitosa
    Preocupación Menor
    General Description
    Canopy palm. Stems clustered, to 20 m tall 10-20 cm in diameter. Leaves to 4 m long; crownshaft bluish green; petiole green, glabrous; pinnae to 100 on each side, regularly inserted, narrow, strongly pendulous, the central ones 60-110 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. Inflorescence erect, with axis 40-100 cm long; branches to 150, usually inserted on all sides of the rachis, to 70 cm long, 3-4 mm in diameter, densely covered with short, whitish brown hairs. Fruits black, globose, 1-2 cm in diameter. Endosperm ruminate. Seedling leaves deeply bifid. Stems cespitose with up to 25 stems per clump, or occasionally appearing solitary and then with shoots at the base, erect or leaning, 3-20 m tall, 7-18 cm diam., usually gray with lichens, with a cone of red roots at base, these to 1 cm diam., and with pneumatophores. Leaves 8-14, arching; sheath 0.6-1.5 m long including a short ligule, dark brown, purple, green, dull red-green or yellow-green, with few, flat, scaltered, brownish scales especially on ligule; petiole 17-50 cm long, with few, flattened or raised scales or occasionally whitish, scurfy scales adaxially and on upper part of abaxial surface, mostly glabrous abaxially; rachis 1.5-3.7 m long, with similar scales like those of petiole; pinnae 40-80 per side, pendulous or less often horizontal (especially on younger plants), opposite to subopposite, long acuminate, with punctations abaxially, with prominent midvein and 2-3 lateral veins either side, the midvein with few ramenta abaxially; basal pinna 40-74 x 0.5- 1.5 cm; middle pinnae 0,6-1.1 m x 2-4.5 cm; apical pinna 24-50 x 0.6-1.8 cm. Inflorescences infrafoliar at anthesis, almost horizontal; peduncle 5-15 cm long, 2.7-4 cm diam.; prophyll 43-66 cm long, 11-14 cm diam.; peduncular bract 66-95 cm long, without an umbo; rachis 35-68 cm long, densely covered with whitish brown, branched hairs; rachillae (58-)80-162, 21-75 cm long, 3-4 mm diam. at anthesis, thickening in fruit, absent from adaxial, proximal part of rachis, densely covered with very short, appressed, whitish brown hairs; flowers in triads proximally, paired or solitary staminate distally; triad bracteole rounded; first flower bracteole apiculate, second and third flower bracteoles unequal, rounded, the largest 1-1.5 mm long; staminate flowers 4-5 mm long; sepals triangular to ovate, 2-3.5 mm long, unequal, ciliate; petals ovate, 3-4 mm long, purple to purplered; stamens arranged on a short receptacle; filaments 1.5-4 mm long; anthers 2-2.5 mm long; pistillode 2-3 mm long, deeply trifid at apex; pistillate flowers 3 mm long; sepals broadly tririangular, 2 mm long, ciliate; petals broadly triangular, 2-3 mm 1ong. Fruits globose or depressed globose, 1-2 cm diam., the stigmatic remains lateral; epicarp purple-black, black, or green, minutely tuberculate; seeds globose; endosperm deeply ruminate; eophyll bifid.
    Panama (San Blas), Pacific coast of northern Ecuador (Esmeraldas, Pichincha) and Colombia (Cauca, Chocó, Córdoba, Nariño, Valle; and some areas of the Río Sinú and middle Magdalena valley in Antioquia, Córdoba, and Santander), Trinidad , Venezuela (Bolívar, Delta Amacuro, Sucre), the Guianas, and Brazil (Amapá, Maranho, Paná, Tocantins). It grows in large stands of high density in low-lying, tidal areas near the sea and in wet places near rivers, seldom occurring inland and then in wet places near streams or rivers. In the eastern Amazon basin it replaces Euterpe precatoria in these habitats. However, in the Pacific coastal region of Colombia and Ecuador, the two species are sympatric. Nevertheless, E. oleracea grows in inundated places, whereas E. precatoria grows on noninundated soils. Euterpe oleracea can be an aggressive colonizer of disturbed, swampy areas. Despite this, the habitat of the species is threatened by rice cultivation and shrimp farming in coastal Colombia. Oldeman (1969) has discussed the ecology of E. oleracea in swamps in French Guiana; Urdaneta (1981) has discussed the same in Venezuela. Coastal regions in Brazil, Guyanas, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, in tidal fresh water swamps and in regularly inundated areas along rivers and streams. In Ecuador it is abundant in the river delta region in the NW (San Lorenzo, Borb�n).
    Brazil: acaí, acaí branco, acaizeiro, assaizeiro (in Brazil, the tree is acaizeiro, and the fruit is acaí), ka-be-re (Apinajé), ju?ara, jussara; Colombia: chapil , maquenque, murrapo, naidí, palmicha; Ecuador: bambil, palmiche; French Guiana: pinot; Suriname: baboenpina, kiskis pina, manaka, pina, prasara, wapoe, wapu, wasei; Trinidad: manac.
    Food (Patiño 2002).
    Materials (State of the World's Plants 2016).
    Unspecified Materials Chemicals
    Materials (State of the World's Plants 2016).
    Unspecified Medicinal Disorders
    Medicinal (Instituto Humboldt 2014).
    This species is important throughout its range because it produces both edible fruit and palm heart. In the Brazilian city of Belém, the fruits are an important part of the diet of a large proportion of the inhabitants (Wallace, 1853; Calzavara. 1972; Strudwick & Sobel, 1988). The fleshy mesocarp is mixed with water and made into a drink, and also recently into ice cream. Since the demise of Euterpe edulis as a source of palm heart, E. oleracea is currently the most important species. The canning and sale of palm heart was worth $120 million in 1988 (Strudwick & Sobel, 1988). On the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador, too, there are canning factories for palm heart (Bernal, 1992). Because of its multiple stems, palm heart and fruits can be harvested without destroying the tree. This advantage, coupled with the fact that the palms grow in very high-density stands in the Amazon estuary, has recently attracted the attention of researchers interested in sustainable forest products. Anderson (1988) has discussed the use and management of forests dominated by E. oleracea near Belém. Throughout its range the palm is used for a host of minor items (see Borgtoft Pedersen & Balslev, 1990, for Ecuador). The stems are used for a variety of construction purposes. The young leaves are mashed and the sappy remains applied to stop bleeding or taken to stop hemorrhaging (J. Strudwick et al. 4681). Fruits and discarded seeds are fed to domestic animals. It is also commonly planted as an ornamental throughout the Amazon region in towns and near dwellings.



    Native to:

    Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela


    Common Names

    Asaí, acaí, naidí, bambil, palmiche, cansín.

    Other Data

    Euterpe oleracea Mart. appears in other Kew resources:


    First published in Hist. Nat. Palm. 2: 29 (1824)

    Accepted by

    • Idárraga-Piedrahita, A., Ortiz, R.D.C., Callejas Posada, R. & Merello, M. (eds.) (2011). Flora de Antioquia: Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares 2: 1-939. Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín.
    • Lorenzi, H., Noblick, L.R., Kahn, F. & Ferreira, E. (2010). Brazilian Flora Arecaceae (Palms): 1-268. Instituto Plantarum de Estudos da Flora LTDA, São Paulo, Brazil.
    • Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
    • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

    • Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 1998. Manual to the Palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador
    • Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson, Flora Neotropica Monograph 72

    Useful Plants of Boyacá Project

    • Kew's Economic Botany collection in The State of the World’s Plants Report–2016. (2016). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humbodlt (2014). Plantas alimenticias y medicinales nativas de Colombia. 2567 registros, aportados por: Castellanos, C. (Contacto del recurso), Valderrama, N. (Creador del recurso, Autor), Castro, C. (Proveedor de metadatos), Bernal, Y. (Autor), García, N. (Autor). Versión 11.0.


    Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

    Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
    Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
    Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

    Useful Plants of Boyacá Project
    ColPlantA database