Distribution & Habitat:
It is widely distributed throughout northern South America, but it is most commonly found along river edges and seasonally flooded habitats in Brazil and is cultivated in the States of Par, Amazonas, Maranho and Amap, especially in the Amazon River estuary. It is now very widely grown because of its use as a food item (see below).
A tall, slim, multi-stemmed palm to 30m high, with an attractive crown of drooping leaves. The fruit is a round berry, purple/black at maturity, and is born in bunches of 3 to 8. It flowers throughout the year but the fruit harvesting season is usually from July to December.
The fruit is highly valued by the people of Brazil and the Guianas for use as a juice and in wine, and it is an important and popular dietary complement. The palm heart is also used extensively. 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. 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.
Warm, sunny, and moist. Will take full sun as it matures, but only if there is high humidity.
Figure 1. E. oleracea
Figure 2. E. oleracea in habitat, on an island between Guyana and Suriname.
Contributed by: Brandt Maxwell, Brandt's Palm and Tree Page (Figure 1&2)
For further information try VPE PALM