Other Common Names:
The other common names for the tree Acai palm tree are acaizeiro, acaí-do-Pará, asai, ashaí, assaí, cabbage palm, cansin, chonta, guasai, hasabis, hausai, huai, jicara, juçara, manac, manaka, manicole, morroke, naidí, palisade pine, palmito, palmiteiro, panan, pina, pinau, pinot, piriá, prasara, saké, uassi, ungurahua, wasei, wapoe, yisara and yuyu chonta.
There are about 2700 species of palm trees and the tree we call the acai palm is one (or two) of them. The latin name for the palm tress that bear the acai berry fruit are E. oleracea (actually Euterpe oleracea) and E.edulus.
The acai palm tree does not grow outside of the South America area. Attempts to grow the tree outside of its native area have failed. The genus is named after the muse Euterpe of Greek mythology. The species Euterpe oleracea is usually called Açaí Palm, after the Portuguese name for the beverages made from its fruit. The vernacular name is also sometimes spelled Assai Palm in English.
Acai is a very common, tall, slender palm tree which grows 15 to 25 m in height. The average mature wild tree has 4-8 well-developed stems (10-15 cm in diameter) from a single seed and root system; however, a single seed can grow a plant providing up to 25 shoots growing individually. It has pinnate leaves that start from a prominent crownshaft that is reddish color. It has adapted to live in periodically waterlogged and flooded soils by developing special root structures called pneumatophores. It produces both female and male flowers which are quite small and are brown to purple in color.
The fruit, a small, round, black-purple drupe about 1 inch in diameter, similar in appearance and size to a grape but with less pulp, is produced in branched panicles of 700 to 900 fruits. Two crops of fruit are produced per year. The fruit has a single large seed about 7-10 mm in diameter. The epicarp of the ripe fruits is a deep purple color, or green, depending on the kind of acai and its maturity. The mesocarp is pulpy and thin, with a consistent thickness of 1 mm or less. It surrounds the voluminous and hard endocarp which contains a seed with a diminutive embryo and abundant endosperm. The seed makes up about 88-90% of the fruit.
The acai palm tree (Euterpe oleracea) is native to tropical Central and South America and grows mainly in floodplains and swamps.Açaí Palm (IPA [asai]) is a member of the genus Euterpe, which contains 7 species of palms native to tropical Central and South America, from Belize south to Brazil and Peru, growing mainly in floodplains and swamps.
It thrives best in floodplains and swamps. Grow in full sun or partial shade. Needs a consistently warm, humid environment with regular water. Grow in rich, well-drained and moist soil.
The oleracea enjoys a half sunny, half shady area where is can stay wet. As a seedling, it likes a shady moist area where it is protected from any strong elements. They are usually cultivated by seeds, which can germinate in a few weeks to a couple of months. Plant seeds in well-drained soil mixture. Water regul therapy but do not allow standing water. When the seedlings become 5-7 inches tall with one large bi-fold leaf, and a second new leaf emerging with a decent root system after which they should be planted into a 4" pot or larger upon arrival.
It flowers throughout the year and the harvesting season is usually from July to December.
Pests and Diseases
Mulch fungus is the most common diseases affecting the acai palm tree. Shot hole, brown rot and anthracnose are major almond diseases.
The fruits,leaf and the root are
the most commonly used parts of the acai
palm tree for its medicinal
and commercial purposes.
• Fruits are very high in antioxidants as well as flavinoid-like compounds.
• Medically, pulp extract has shown anti-inflammatory activity, immune system stimulation and in some studies, anti-cancer/tumor activity.
• Acai has a high level of fibers that is good for elderly and for people who have problems with digestive organs.
• Acai has two essential fatty acids known as Omega 6 (Linoleic acid) and Omega 9 (Oleic acid). Research shows that these fatty acids maintain normal cholesterol levels.
• Research has shown that these Anti-Oxidants help regulate normal cholesterol levels.
• Acai's Anti-Oxidant factors play a large role in maintenance of vascular cardiac system, which is important for better blood circulation.
• Acai palm tree is vital to proper muscle contractions and regeneration.
• More bio-active then liquid freeze dried versions of Acai
• It cleanses and detoxifies the body.
• The Acai fruit is noted to contain an abundance of valuable polysterols that are currently being used to treat symptoms associated with high blood pressure.
• The health benefits of Acai are currently being used for treatment of a number of conditions including inflammation, arthritis, cardiovascular health, potency, nutritional deficiencies and to fight visible signs of aging.
• The Acai fruit contributes to lowering instances of heart disease and cholesterol and exhibits potential therapeutic effects including treatment of diabetic retinopathy and fibrocystic disease of the breast in humans.
• An infusion of the toasted crushed seeds is used for fever, and a decoction of the root is used for malaria, diabetes, hepatitis and jaundice, hair loss, hemorrhages, liver and kidney diseases, menstrual pain, and muscle pain.
• Acai juice has become a popular health product in recent years and many juices now include Acai as a blend with more familiar flavors.
• Pulp is also used in desserts and to flavour ice creams.
• Its leaves are used to make thatched roofs, the branched twigs on which the açai fruits grow become natural brooms and the hard, round seeds of the açai berry are recycled as organic fertilizer and increasingly used to make necklaces, bracelets and other handicrafts.
• The açai palm is also famous for its soft, inner core, namely the palm hearts that are used in salads and other "gourmet" dishes.
• The seeds from the fruit are also used in a variety of jewelry, and is a very popular item bought by tourists and locals alike.