The açaí palm, Euterpe oleracea, is a species of palm tree cultivated for its fruit, hearts of palm, leaves, and trunk wood. Native to tropical South and Central America, acai palms are common along the Amazon Riverestuary and are cultivated on floodplains, especially in the state of Pará in Brazil.
Global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in the 21st century, and the tree is cultivated for that purpose primarily. The fruit became a staple food in floodplain areas around the 18th century, but its consumption in urban areas and promotion as a health food only began in the mid 1990s along with the popularization of other Amazonian fruits outside the region.
Table of Contents
30 - 80 feet
5 -10 feet
4.5 – 6.5
Types of Acai Palm
Purple or Black Acai Berry
This type of acai berry is taken from bunches of the palm tree popularly known as açaízera. Coming from northern Brazil, mainly from the regions of Belém do Pará. This is the most famous, what you encounter in your acai bowl.
White Acai Berry
This type of acai berry is also known as Acai Tinga. It is harder to be found, and therefore more expensive than purple or black acai berry. Although it is called white acai berry, its peel and pulp are green, with shades similar to avocado. This type is a fan favorite of the people of Pará.
It has a stronger flavor than the purple açaí and originates in the Peruvian Amazon, its clusters are much larger than the purple açaí, so the name ‘Açu’ that comes from indigenous dialect, meaning “big açaí”. It is also known as solitary acai berry or amazon acai berry.
It is named this because of its different shape. Its clusters feature a number of branches, making it a unique fruit.
Ox Blood Acai
It is named this because, when mature, it has a very intense red coloration. Although edible it’s rarely eaten because it has a pasty consistency and an unpleasant taste when compared to the Purple Acai.
It is an extremely small variety. Each fruit of this species weighs about 1g, and its color varies between purple and white.
Growing Acai Palm
Acquire acai palm seeds when they are fresh, preferably during the last half of the year. If they are clean, pop them in a container of water for 24 hours before planting them. If they still retain fruit pulp, soak them for several days and rub off the loosened pulp against the mesh of a kitchen strainer.
Fill a 1 gallon pot with a moist mix of half peat and half perlite, and plant the seeds in that mix at a depth equal to half their diameter. Enclose the pot in a large, clear plastic bag, and place it on a seed starting heat mat to provide temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit.
Watch for the acai palm seeds to germinate in about one to two months. When they begin to sprout, lift the pot out of the plastic bag. Position it on a partially shaded window sill or under the end of a grow light timed to run during the daylight hours.
Keep the seedlings soil damp, and transplant them into 4-inch diameter tree pots of cactus and palm potting soil when they are about 2 inches tall. Continue to grow them in pots for about 6 months or until they reach 20 inches in height.
Choose a location outdoors in a partially shaded area, with fertile and acidic soil that is well drained but stays moist. Dig holes 15 inches in diameter and plant the acai palms about 15 feet apart. Water them thoroughly, and continue to water them as often as necessary to keep their soil evenly damp but not waterlogged.
Feed them a couple times a year. For a timed-release palm fertilizer, such as 8-4-8, apply about 1/2 tablespoon per square foot of planting area around the trunks. For an organic palm fertilizer, such as 4-1-3, double that amount.
Care For Acai Palm
Easy to maintain. Apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.
Acai Palm Tree is not considered cold hardy. It can tolerate cold only down to 30F when mature enough.
In the wild, Euterpe oleracea grows in swamps and floodplains. It grows best in acidic moist, but well drained soil.
Propagated by seeds, which can germinate in a few weeks to a couple of months.
Harvesting Acai Berries
Your tree should start giving off fruit within 3-5 years of planting.
Watch for purple flowers – that means your tree will be ready to start giving off fruit!
Harvest is usually from July to December.
Diseases, Pests and Predators
The main pests of the acai include bark beetles, palm aphids, and South American palm weevils. Bark beetles damage the seeds of the palm while palm aphids damage the rest of the plant from the leaves and stems to the fruits and flowers. The chief pest of the acai is the palm weevil which damages the leaves. These pests and others can cause serious damage and prevent the acai from growing to full capacity and/or producing enough fruit to be harvested.
Benefits of Acai Berries
May Improve Cardiovascular Health
Acai berries may contain high levels of anthocyanins, which are a form of plant antioxidants. Antioxidants seek out and eliminate many of the free radicals that are responsible for a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including heart diseases. Anthocyanins may also be related to regulating blood cholesterol by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. This reduction–along with a balanced diet and exercise–can help lower the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
May Regulate Blood Pressure
Acai berries may have plenty of plant sterols, which might act as vasodilators and relax blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. This may prevent blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks and generally improves the circulation and oxygenation of the blood.
May Aid In Weight Loss
Anecdotal evidence indicates that the pulp of acai berry may help in weight loss. It might not only stimulate weight loss but also may help people maintain a healthy weight by reducing the negative impact of high-fat diets. In recent years, acai weight loss supplements and pills have become wildly popular; although the results may not be uniformly successful, there have been a number of positive testimonials regarding the same.
The high fiber content of acai berries may also help reduce appetite and stop hunger pains associated with overeating and weight gain.
May Help With Skin Care
The antioxidant properties of acai berry powder may aid in skincare. Acai oil may be frequently used in cosmetic products. Due to its antioxidants, the oil can be used to relieve irritation and redness and moisturize the skin. Also, if acai berries are ingested, they may give the skin a healthy, attractive glow. In fact, in Brazil, the pulp of the acai berry may have been used for generations to treat or reduce the number of skin conditions and diseases.
May Aid in Digestion
Acai berry may contain natural fiber, which might aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. It can bulk up the bowel movements, making the excretory processes regular, and reducing the chances of constipation and other uncomfortable digestive issues. Consuming fiber-rich acai berries may also give bulk to the stool and reduce the chances of diarrhea as well.
May Boost Immunity
Acai juice can be a wonderful source of vitamin C, which is a well-known immunity booster. Its antioxidant properties may help fight against free radicals and help maintain health.
May Be Rich In Antioxidants
Acai berry may have high antioxidant potential, which may have helped scavenge free radicals. The antioxidants also may have showed potential for anti-inflammatory properties.
May Boost Energy
The acai berry extract may be a well-known supplement used to boost energy. It might also aid in combating fatigue and mental exhaustion.
May Have Aphrodisiac Powers
Although the direct impact of acai berries on sexual stamina and sex drive may not be completely known, they are thought to have the ability to increase the blood circulation throughout the body. Since a lack of blood flow is one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual stamina, acai berry juice may be commonly used as an alternative medicine for helping people with these conditions.
May Delay Premature Aging
Acai berries are thought to slow down the aging process due to their high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants remove the free radicals that cause the breakdown of skin, hair, teeth, and eye health, and are often associated with premature aging. Regular consumption of acai berry juice – and other antioxidant-rich foods – might help reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. Also, the application of acai oil to certain areas of the skin may help prevent wrinkle formation.
Cellular oxidative damage and various types of inflammation can also be reduced with the frequent consumption of acai berries. While these little berries obviously have powerful health effects, the specific components of acai berries may not have been identified that give it such potency have yet to be determined.
May Boost Cognition
In terms of brain health and function, a possible link between acai berry juice and increased mental functioning and sharpness of mind. The berries may also improve memory and protect the brain from the development of neural disorders.
May Promote Wound Healing
Acai berries may have anti-inflammatory properties, and therefore acai berry water extracts are thought to have promising effects on expediting wound healing.
May Improve Metabolism
The antioxidant properties of acai berries may be one of its most celebrated aspect; they may also benefit healthy cellular metabolism and functioning. They are considered helpful in reducing the chances of unhealthy apoptosis (cell death) and increase the efficiency of the cell’s absorption of nutrients and the subsequent translation into useful energy.
There may be multiple uses of acai berries, including the following:
There is a huge range of cosmetic products that may contain acai berry oil, owing to the skin-enriching properties in it.
The fruit may also be widely used in juices, dietary pills, salads, as well as a good livestock food source to promote animal health.
Traditionally, the leaves might have also been used to make mats, hats, brooms, and roofing material for thatched homes.
Seeds may become waste in landfills or used as fuel for producing bricks.