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Euterpe edulis - Mart.

Common Name Jucara Palm, Assai Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats An understorey tree of swampy ground in high rainfall forests[ 200 ], at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres[ 418 ].
Range S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, southern and eastern Brazil.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Euterpe edulis Jucara Palm, Assai Palm

Euterpe edulis Jucara Palm, Assai Palm


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Jucara Palm or Euterpe edulis, otherwise known as jussara, acai-do-sul, or palmiteiro, is a tall, tropical palm tree primarily used for its palm heart. It grows usually about 10 m tall and 12 cm across. The trunk is light grey or brown in colour, and has prominent rings of leaf base scars. The leaves are dark green and have fine and feathery leaflets along the stalk. The fruits are small, round, and black to brown. Juice from the young stem is applied to wounds to stop bleeding. The leaves can be consumed raw or cooked. It is crunchy with a sweet flavour. The fruit has a thin, fleshy, fibrous pulp. It is made into a juice or ice cream. It can also be used to make alcohol or as a substitute to petrol. The wood is of low quality but can be used for rafters, beams, water troughs, and posts. A drink called Assai is obtained by crushing the seeds of Jucara palm. The unopened flower stalk is pickled. E. edulis is slow-growing.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Euterpe edulis is an evergreen Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Euterpe egusquizae Bertoni ex Hauman Euterpe espiritosantensis H.Q.B.Fern

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Apical bud  Fruit  Leaves  Oil  Seed  Shoots
Edible Uses: Drink  Oil

Leaves - raw or cooked[ 297 ]. Crunchy, with a sweet flavour[ 297 ]. A tropical delicacy, they can also be eaten raw in salads[ 301 ]. A highly prized dish, often called 'Millionaires salad' due to its price[ 314 ]. The unexpanded leaves and bud from the crown of the plant are used[ 297 ]. Harvesting these leaves kills the plant because it is unable to make side-shoots[ 297 , 768 ]. Fruit - made into a juice[ 416 ]. The fruit has a thin, fleshy, fibrous pulp[ 416 ]. It is made into a high calorie juice[ 416 ]. The fruit is used for making a nutritious beverage or ice-cream[ 317 ]. The fruit is about 12mm in diameter[ 416 ]. The seeds are crushed in water to produce a drink called Assai.

References   More on Edible Uses

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.

The juice squeezed from the young stem is applied to wounds to stop bleeding[ 739 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Alcohol  Fuel  Oil  Wood

Other Uses: The fruit has the potential to be used to make alcohol as a petrol substitute. The wood is light in weight, hard, long lasting in dry sites. Although of low quality, it is used locally in making rural buildings for purposes such as rafters and beams; for water troughs, posts and as a source of cellulose[ 419 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of moist tropical and subtropical climates, where it is found at elevations from sea level to around 1,200 metres[ 418 ]. It grows in areas where the 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 warm, sheltered, and moist site that is well drained[ 314 ]. It likes filtered sunlight when young, but can take full sun as it matures[ 297 , 314 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 5, tolerating 4.1 - 5.6[ 418 ]. A fast-growing plant[ 200 ]. Utilizing the plant for its edible apical bud always leads to its eventual death since the palm is unable to form side branches and thus is unable to grow any more. This has led to plant populations coming under pressure in some areas[ 314 ]. Spacing: 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m); 8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m); 10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m). They are grown commercially for palm hearts in Brazil.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

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Plant Propagation

Seed - it has a short viability of less than three months and so is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed. Pre-soak them in cold water for 24 hours prior to sowing[ 419 ]. A germination rate of around 80% or more can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 30 - 70 days[ 419 ]. The seed germinates rapidly and grows quickly[ 297 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Yayih, Imi pu'e, Jussara palm, Palmito-doce, Acaf,

Native Range

SOUTHERN AMERICA: Brazil, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Argentina, Misiones, Paraguay, Alto Paraná,

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.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Euterpe oleraceaAcai, Assai Palm, Acai PalmTree25.0 10-12 FLMHSNM522

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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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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