Euterpe edulis

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Euterpe (yoo-TEHR-peh)
edulis (eh-DOO-Liss)
Euterpe edulis (2) Coereba flaveola.JPG
Coereba flaveola, visiting flowers of E. edulis. At the edge of the Rain Forest, Submontane, Rodeo-Santa Catarina.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Euterpe (yoo-TEHR-peh)
edulis (eh-DOO-Liss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Argentina: yayih; Brazil: coco de palmito, coco de jissara, coco de usara, ensarova, icara, incara, iucara, jicara, jocara, jucoara, jucara, jucara vermelho, jucara branca, junca, palmiteiro, palmeteiro branco, palmeteiro encapado, palmeteiro macho, palmeteiro vermelho, palmeteiro-doce, palmito, palmito-doce, palmito-juara, palmito amarelo, palmito vermelho, ripa, ripeira; Paraguay: palmito, yayi.

Habitat and Distribution

Argentina Northeast, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, and Paraguay.
Brazil. The Jacutinga (Pipile jacutinga) bird, Species threatened with extinction due to hunting and habitat destruction. Dispersing seeds of various plant species, such as the palm-juçara (Euterpe edulis). Photo by Dr. Leonardo Desordi Lobo.
Atlantic coast of Brazil and adjacent areas (Alagoas, Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sui, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe) and just reaching northeastern Argentina (Misiones) and southeastern Paraguay (Alto Paraná); rain forest on steep slopes, rarely in inundated areas; alt. 0-1000 m.

This species can form large stands on ridges and valley slopes, especially on quartzite and sandy soils. It also colonizes areas where the forest has been disturbed. (Gloria Galeano and A. Henderson)/Palmweb.


Stems solitary, or rarely caespitose (growing in dense tufts or clumps) and then with few stems, erect, 5-12 m tall, 10-15 cm in diam., usually gray with lichens, with a dense cone of reddish brown roots at base, these 1-2 cm in diam. Leaves 8-15 in the crown, spreading; sheath 0.8-1.4 m long including a 2-3 cm long ligule, olive green to dark green, sometimes reddish or orange-tinged, glabrous or with reddish brown scales; petiole 13-54 cm long, densely to moderately covered with flat, brown, reddish brown or black scales; rachis 1.5-3 m long, with varying amounts of scales, like those of petiole; pinnae 38-62 (-70) per side, spreading or pendulous, subopposite, regularly arranged, rarely somewhat clustered, with prominent midvein and submarginal lateral veins present either side, the mid vein with brown ramenta abaxially, with obscure or prominent punctations abaxially; basal pinna 29-50 x 0.5-0.8 cm; middle pinnae 49-80 (- 106) x 1.5-4 cm; apical pinna 15-35 x 0.6-1 cm. Inflorescences infrafoliar and ± horizontal at anthesis; peduncle 4-8.5 cm long, 1.5-2 cm in diam.; prophyll to 1 m long; peduncular bract 61-65 (-104) cm long including a 1 cm long umbo, with smaller, incomplete bracts to 4 cm long present on peduncle and rachis; rachis 45-69 cm long; rachillae 49-110 (-120), 26-58 (-75) cm long, to 2 mm in diam. at anthesis, 3-4.5 mm in diam. in fruit, arranged all round the rachis, zig-zag especially near apex, light brown or reddish brown when dry, densely covered with 0.1 mm long, rounded, granular hairs; flowers in triads on the rachillae, paired or solitary staminate distally, the triads often distichously arranged; triad bracteole rounded, to 1 mm long; first flower bracteole obscure, second and third flower bracteoles unequal, the longest to 1.5 mm long; staminate flowers 5-6 mm long, purplish; sepals deltate, 2 mm long, gibbous; petals lanceolate, 5 mm long; stamens arranged on a short receptacle; filaments 1.5- 22.5 mm long, flattened; anthers 2.5-3 mm long; pistillode about 1 mm long, trifid at apex; pistillate flowers 3-4.5 mm long; sepals very widely ovate, 3-4 mm long; petals very widely ovate, 5 mm long. Fruits globose, 1-1.4 cm in diam., the stigmatic remains subapical; epicarp black at maturity, minutely tuberculate; seeds globose; endosperm homogeneous; eophyll palmate. (Gloria Galeano and A. Henderson)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Plants from near Santa Theresa in Espírito Santo, Brazil, were described by Boudet Fernandes (1989) as a new species, Euterpe espiritosantensis. In our treatment we consider that the characters used to define the new species fall into the range of variation of Euterpe edulis. This taxon, like most other species in the genus, is wide ranging and variable, with many local races and forms. One interesting feature of this form is that the pinnae are sometimes loosely clustered. (Gloria Galeano and A. Henderson)/Palmweb.


"The main acai palm, euterpe oleracea is way too tropical and barely even survives in Southern Florida. Growing it in even the warmest and mildest parts of California is very, very difficult. However, I was surprised that there was a type of acai palm that grew in California. Euterpe Edulis fruits in Southern California and is about as hardy as a king palm. If you can grow a king palm in Northern California, there's a pretty good chance euterpe edulis will grow for you. If you're into fruit, this is definitely a worthwhile palm to seek out." (Dr. Axel Kratel) Cold Hardiness Zone: 9b

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Comments and Curiosities

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson. Flora Neotropica. New York Botanical Garden.

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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