Euterpe Mart.
  • Hist. Nat. Palm. 2: 28 (1823) 

Notes: , nom. cons. Distribution: Trop. America

General Description

Moderate to large, solitary or clustered, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem erect, sometimes slender, obscurely to distinctly ringed with leaf scars, grey to white, base sometimes enlarged. Leaves few in crown, often spreading, pinnate; sheath elongate, tubular, forming a prominent crownshaft, smooth, variously glaucous, tomentose, or with scales, with or without a prominent, fibrous, adaxial ligule; petiole very short or absent, rarely elongate, slender, deeply concave adaxially, or flat with a central ridge, rounded abaxially, with scattered dark brown to blackish, branched scales or deciduous tomentum on both surfaces, usually denser adaxially; rachis slender, rounded abaxially, channelled adaxially near the base, distally angled, with dark brown to blackish scales more numerous adaxially; leaflets often ± pendulous, narrow, lanceolate, single-fold, tips long-attenuate, pointed, midrib conspicuous, 1 or 2 pairs of large veins also evident, deciduous tattered scales often prominent abaxially along midribs and larger veins, other elliptic scales present or absent abaxially and near the base adaxially, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences axillary, infrafoliar at anthesis, erect in bud, branched to 1 order; peduncle short, often dorsiventrally compressed, covered with scales, tomentum, or hairs, minutely brown-dotted or rarely glabrous; prophyll tubular, elongate, flattened dorsiventrally, inserted obliquely near the base of the peduncle, chartaceous, with scattered sometimes black, tattered-peltate scales, or ± glabrous, margins with wide flat keels, tip usually rounded, splitting abaxially below the tip; peduncular bract about as long as or longer than the prophyll, tubular, chartaceous, with scales as on the prophyll, tip pointed, hard, a second, incomplete, rather long, pointed peduncular bract sometimes present; rachis longer than the peduncle, covered with dense white, yellow to dark red tomentum; rachillae moderate to long, often slender, becoming pendulous, usually covered with dense white, orange, or dark brownish tomentum, and bearing rather close or distant, spirally arranged bracts, the proximal somewhat elongate, pointed, the distal smaller, often rounded, each subtending a triad of flowers at the base or more distally on the rachilla a pair of staminate or a single staminate flower, the pistillate flower sunken in a pit and surrounded by 2 rounded, stiff bracteoles, one usually larger, the 2 staminate flowers of the triad in shallow indentations above the pistillate flower. Staminate flowers elongate, pointed in bud; sepals 3, distinct, broadly imbricate, irregular, rounded to ± pointed, margins often tattered; petals 3, distinct, unequal, asymmetrical, valvate, the tips with short solid points; stamens 6, filaments short, linear, sometimes wider basally, anthers elongate, sagittate, medifixed, latrorse; pistillode 3-lobed, columnar. Pollen ellipsoidal, with slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, finely perforate, or perforate and micro-channelled and rugulate, aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 35–57 µm [4/8]. Pistillate flowers ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, margins often lacerate, from ca. 1/4 to 2/3 as long as the petals; petals 3, distinct, imbricate, margins irregular, tips with solid points; staminodes usually absent (present in Euterpe luminosa); gynoecium ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, stigmas 3 short, fleshy, recurved, ovule probably hemianatropous, laterally attached. Fruit subglobose or rarely ellipsoid, small to moderate, single-seeded, stigmatic remains lateral to subapical; epicarp smooth, minutely pebbled when dry, mesocarp rather thin with radially arranged sclereid bundles and an inner layer of thin flat fibres, endocarp thin, crustaceous, tanniniferous. Seed globose, laterally attached, hilum elongate, ± 2-lobed, raphe branches forming a network, endosperm homogeneous or rarely ruminate; embryo subbasal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid or pinnate with narrow leaflets. Cytology: 2n = 36.

Diagnostic Description

Elegant solitary or clustering pinnate-leaved palms from Central and South America and the Caribbean, with tall graceful stems, and regularly and finely pinnate leaves; the inflorescences have grey-white rachillae.


Leaf (Tomlinson 196l, Roth 1990); root, leaflets,and fruits of Euterpe oleracea (Elias de Paula 1975); stems, leavesand roots (Henderson and Galeano 1996), root (Seubert 1998a,1998b), and fruit (Moegenburg 2003).


Occurring in lowland rain forest and montane forests and swamps, often along rivers, but sometimes at higher elevations. Euterpe has a wide altitudinal range occurring from swamps at very low elevation to 2500 m on mountain slopes.


Seven species from the Lesser Antilles and Central America south through Brazil to Peru and Bolivia.


The‘cabbage’ is edible and much prized, being sweet andsucculent and the most common source of hearts of palm inthe Americas. Fruits of some species are used in preserves andbeverages. Unopened inflorescences are made into pickles.The hard outer part of the stem may be used as planks, andleaves for thatch.

Common Names

Assai palms, manaco.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Brazil Northeast
  • Brazil South
  • Brazil Southeast
  • Brazil West-Central
  • Caribbean Trinidad-Tobago
  • Venezuelan Antilles
  • Windward Is.
  • Central America Belize
  • Central American Pacific Is.
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Southern South America Argentina Northeast
  • Paraguay
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • B All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.