A tall slender palm bearing edible, 1" across, purple-black fruits in huge numbers. The fruits have a unique, sweetish flavor and along with becoming popular in recent years for commercial beverages, they also have a number of health benefits currently under investigation.
A slender palm, growing to 40-90ft. Fruit crops ripen twice a year with single fruit clusters numbering up to almost 1000. A single tree may produce thousands of fruits a season. Fruits ripen to a deep purple, almost black color.
Hardy to 35-40F, the Acai Palm doesn't grow very well outside of humid, warm environments.
Grow in full sun or part shade. Needs a consistently warm, humid environment with regular water. Water frequently. Grow in rich, well-drained and moist soil.
By seeds, which can germinate in a few weeks to a couple of months. Plant seeds in well-drained soil mixture. Water regularly but do not allow standing water.
The fruits are eaten raw, though usually processed into juices as the pulp content in individual fruits is low. 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 flavor ice creams. The recent interest in Acai probably results from its numerous potential health benefits, although many are still under investigation. 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. This is also a source (though not the primary) of edible palm hearts.
Native from Belize, south through Brazil and parts of Peru.
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