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Attalea butyracea - (Mutis ex L.f.) Wess.Boer

Common Name Wine Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats An understorey tree of woodlands and forests, most commonly on edges and in areas of disturbance; also in grassland, sometimes in large stands; frequently in flat areas alongside streams; from the coastal plains to elevations of 1,000 metres[ 297 , 510 ].
Range S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; Caribbean - Trinidad; Central America - Panama to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Attalea butyracea Wine Palm
Attalea butyracea Wine Palm


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Attalea butyracea otherwise known as Wine Palm is a tropical, evergreen plant that grows in dry forests in the Amazon. It has a straight, single stem that can grow up to 50 cm in diameter. It serves several functions such as food source and as material for construction. The apical bud is consumed as vegetable. The sap is fermented producing alcoholic beverages. The fruit has a fleshy and fibrous pulp which can be eaten raw. The seeds and the oil it produces can be eaten as well. The seed oil can further be used in making soaps and toiletries. The leaves are widely used for thatching roofs and for weaving. It can also yield fibre that can be used in rope-making and coarse fabrics. Wood is used as construction material.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Attalea butyracea is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Attalea gomphococca Mart. Attalea humboldtiana Spruce Attalea macrocarpa (H.Karst.) Wess.Boer Attale


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Sap
Edible Uses: Oil

The apical bud is eaten as a vegetable[ 297 ]. Harvesting this bud leads to the eventual death of the trunk because it is unable to produce side shoots[ K ]. Sap - fermented to yield an alcoholic beverage[ 297 ]. The sap is obtained by removing the apical bud (which is edible). The sap collects in the hollow where the bud was[ 297 ]. Production: Over 18-20 days the sap is collected and yields about 12 litres. Fruit - raw[ 416 ]. The pulp is fleshy and fibrous[ 416 ]. Good-tasting, with a thick - almost dry - consistency, and a mildly sweet and nutty flavour[ 510 ]. The fruit is 8cm or more long and 6cm wide[ 416 ], borne in very large racemes[ 510 ]. The seeds are eaten[ 301 ]. They are mashed and mixed with roasted cooking bananas. Rich in oil[ 416 ]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[ 301 ].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

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Other Uses


Other uses rating: Very High (5/5). Other Uses: The leaves are used extensively for thatching roofs and for weaving into various articles[ 297 , 510 , 768 ]. If harvested at the correct time (with the leaves being neither too old nor too young), roofs made out of this material can last for four years or more[ 510 ]. The large fronds are split longitudinally, along the mid rib. Then they are positioned side by side and tied to rafters made of poles. Finally, the leaflets are woven together. Generally, roofs made of palm leaves must be quite steep to encourage the runoff of rainwater and to avoid seepage and leaks[ 510 ]. A fibre obtained from the leaves can be used to make ropes and coarse fabrics[ 454 ]. An oil obtained from the seed is used in making soaps and toiletries[ 297 ]. Wood - used for construction[ 297 ]. Agroforestry Uses: This species spreads very rapidly in disturbed, human-made habitats[ 768 ]. This trait gives it excellent potential for use as a pioneer species when restoring native wodland and, given its wide range of uses, makes it especially useful when establishing woodland gardens[ K ].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Plants succeed in moist tropical climates where temperatures never fall below 10c, the average annual rainfall is 1,500mm or more and the driest month has 25mm or more rain[ 297 ]. Grows best in a hot, sunny position[ 314 ]. Prefers a moist soil and probably does not mind poor drainage[ 314 ].

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and sow in containers[ 297 ]. The seed takes 2 - 3 months to germinate[ 297 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Attalea butyracea or Wine Palm

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Found In: Amazon, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guiana, Mexico, North America, Panama, South America, Venezuela.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Attalea colendaPalma real, ChivilaTree25.0 10-12 MLMHNM403
Attalea funiferaBahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba PalmTree15.0 10-12 MLMHNDM104
Attalea maripaInaja, Maripa PalmTree15.0 10-12 MLMHSNM325
Attalea speciosaBabassu, American Oil Palm, Motacu, MotacuchiTree30.0 10-12 SLMHNM425

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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(Mutis ex L.f.) Wess.Boer

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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