Euterpe oleracea (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Euterpe oleracea Martius

Family: Palmae

Vernacular names

  • Assai palm, pina palm (En)
  • Pinot (Fr).


Eastern parts of the Amazon basin in South America. Occasionally cultivated in botanical gardens in South-East Asia.


The fruits are used to prepare a very nutritive drink or porridge, the assai liquid, which is the staple food in parts of the Amazon estuary. The assai heart of palm is of increasing importance as a vegetable. The seeds are used as animal feed and as a source of compost. The wood provides timber, the leaves are used in wickerwork. The palm is also an attractive ornamental.


  • Monoecious, clustered, unarmed palm, 4-30 m tall, with slender stem, 20-30 cm in diameter.
  • Leaves pinnate, few, often in a spreading crown, sheath forming a prominent crownshaft.
  • Infructescences below the crownshaft, in panicle-like spikes, ca. 60 cm long.
  • Fruit a globose drupe, ca. 1.5 cm in diameter, darkish purple, single-seeded; exocarp smooth, mesocarp rather thin with radially arranged scleroid bundles and an inner layer of thin flat fibres, endocarp thin, crustaceous, tanniniferous.
  • Seed globose, accounting for most of the volume of the fruit.

Common, wild and cultivated, in the tidal plains of the Amazon estuary. Possibly an interesting potential crop for South-East Asia.

Selected sources

  • Strudwick, J. & Sobel, G.L., 1988. Uses of Euterpe oleracea Mart. in the Amazon estuary, Brazil. In: Balick, J. (Editor): The palm- tree of life: biology, utilization and conservation. Proceedings of a symposium at the 1986 annual meeting of the Society for Economic Botany held at the New York Botanical Garden, 13-14 June 1986. Advances in Economic Botany 6: 225-253.
  • Uhl, N.W. & Dransfield, J., 1987. Genera Palmarum. The L.H. Bailey Hortorium and the International Palm Society. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas, USA. 610 pp.


P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen