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Euterpe oleracea - Mart.

Common Name Acai, Assai Palm, Acai Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Swampy ground, often in sandy soils[ 297 ]. Most commonly found along river edges and seasonally flooded habitats in Brazil[ 314 ].
Range S. America - Tropical Brazil extending north to Guyana, Venezuela and Trinidad.
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 oleracea Acai, Assai Palm, Acai Palm

Euterpe oleracea Acai, Assai Palm, Acai Palm


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Commonly found in South America, Acai Palm or Euterpe oleracea is a palm tree cultivated for its fruits and palm hearts. It is tall and slender growing up to 25-30 m high. Its leaves are pinnate and up to 3 m long each. It is medicinally used for haemorrhages, fevers, wounds, scorpion stings, diarrhoea, and jaundice. The fruit is small, purple-black in colour, and can be eaten raw. It has a thin, fibrous, fleshy pulp that is rich in antioxidants. The juice from the fruit is a refreshing drink that is often served ice cold or made into ice cream, liquor, mousses, and sweets in general. The leaves are commonly used as weaving material but can also be cooked. It is crunchy, with a sweet flavour. Edible oil can be obtained from the seed. The wood is used locally for rafters, laths, rustic buildings, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Euterpe oleracea is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a fast 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


Catis martiana O.F.Cook Euterpe badiocarpa Barb.Rodr. Euterpe beardii L.H.Bailey Euterpe brasiliana

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

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

Fruit - raw or cooked. A thin, fibrous, fleshy pulp with little flavour[ 416 ]. A very nutritious fruit, rich in antioxidants, it is often used to make a drink that is very popular in the Amazon region of Brazil[ 46 , 297 ]. The juice is extracted from the small round fruit by soaking the seeds in water to soften the thin outer shell and then squeezing and straining them to produce a very tasty, dense purple liquid[ 314 ]. This liquid is served ice cold with (or sometimes without) sugar and tapioca flour. It is a nourishing and refreshing drink that is also used to produce ice cream, liquor, mousses and sweets in general[ 314 ]. The juice is also added to various foods such as tapioca, cassava and porridge[ 301 ]. The purplish-black fruit is about 15 - 25mm in diameter, and is borne in huge clusters of up to 1,000 fruits[ 297 , 377 ]. Leaves - cooked[ 297 ]. Crunchy, with a sweet flavour[ 297 ]. Said to resemble artichokes (Cynara scolymus)[ 46 , 301 ]. The unexpanded leaves and bud from the crown of the plant are used[ 297 ]. Harvesting these leaves eventually kills the stem of the plant because it is unable to produce side shoots[ 297 ], although the plant can produce new stems from its base[ 314 ]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[ 301 ].

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.
Antidiarrhoeal  Contraceptive  Febrifuge  Stings  Styptic

A cold water infusion of the wood in the stem is used as an external wash for a contraceptive[ 348 ]. The sap is styptic. It is used to treat haemorrhages, scorpion bites, and is used in the treatment of wounds and cuts[ 348 ]. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers[ 348 ]. An infusion of whole seedlings is used to treat shot wounds from hunting[ 348 ]. The central bud, or heart, is roasted and applied topically to soothe the pain of scorpion stings;[ 348 ]. The juice from the roasted bud should be drunk at the same time[ 348 ]. Overeating of the heart or pith causes diarrhoea[ 348 ]. The heart is dried, pulverised and then used in a plaster to cicatrize open cuts[ 348 ]. The liquid extracted from the warm heart is patted on an open wound[ 348 ]. The oil from the fruit is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[ 739 ]. A tea made from the roots is used to treat jaundice and to strengthen the blood[ 739 ]. A tea made from the seeds is used to treat fevers[ 739 ]. The fruit is used in a savoury, violet-coloured beverage that is drunk as a refreshant[ 348 ]. Phenols occur in the heart of palm[ 348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fibre  Oil  Weaving  Wood

Other Uses: The leaves are used for weaving mats etc[ 418 ]. The wood is moderately heavy, soft, splits easily and of low durability when exposed to the elements[ 419 ]. It is used locally for making rustic buildings, rafters, laths etc[ 419 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist to wet tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 3,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 28°c, but can tolerate 16 - 32°c[ 418 ]. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 2,300mm, but tolerates 1,200 - 3,000mm[ 418 ]. Prefers a position sheltered from the sun with plenty of moisture[ 297 ]. Mature plants should be able to tolerate full sun[ 297 ], so long as there is plenty of humidity[ 314 ]. Prefers a rich, moist, well-drained soil[ 377 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 6.5[ 418 ]. A moderately robust species, it usually produces multiple stems (up to 12 stems) though sometimes it only has one stem with a few suppressed suckers at the base[ 297 ]. A fast-growing plant[ 200 ]. Plants usually flower throughout the year but the fruit harvesting season is for only 6 months of the year[ 314 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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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

Para palm, Asai, Naidi, Pinot, Pina palm, Palmito acai, Palmiteiro, Pina, Ucai, Manaka, Acai-do-para, Jucara, Wasei, Pina, Prasara, acai, asaí, assai palm, açaizeiro, açaí, açaí-do-pará, cabbage palm, euterpe, jussara, kohlpalme, palmiteiro, palmito-açaí, para-assaipalm, pinot, uaçaí.

SOUTHERN AMERICA: Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, 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.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Euterpe edulisJucara Palm, Assai PalmTree30.0 9-12 MLMHSNM522

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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