Fruits & Vegetables

Peach palm

Botanical Name: Bactris gasipaes
Family: Arecaceae
Order: Arecales
Genus: Bactris
Species: B. gasipaes

*Bactris ciliata (Ruiz & Pav.) Mart.
*Bactris insignis (Mart.) Baill.
*Bactris speciosa (Mart.) H.Karst.
*Bactris utilis (Oerst.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex Hemsl.
*Guilelma chontaduro Triana
*Guilelma ciliata (Ruiz & Pav.) H.Wendl.
*Guilelma gasipaes (Kunth) L.H.Bailey
*Guilelma insignis Mart.
*Guilelma speciosa Mart.
*Guilelma utilis Oerst.
*Martinezia ciliata Ruiz & Pav.

Common names:Peach palm in English and Chontaduro in Spanish.
Vernacular Names:
*chonta or chontaduro (Ecuador)
*chontaduro (Colombia)
*pejibaye (Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic)
*manaco (Guatemala)
*pijibay (Nicaragua)
*pijuayo (Peru)
*pijiguao (Venezuela)
*tembé (Bolivia)
*pivá/pifá (Panama)
*peewah (Trinidad & Tobago)
*pupunha (Brazil)
*pixbae (Panama)

Habitat: Peach palm is native to Central and northern S. America. The plants are found in disturbed natural ecosystems, principally along riverbeds and primary forest gaps.

Bactris gasipaes is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a fast rate.
The flowers are pollinated by Insects, wind. Peach palm, like most sea-island palms, grows erect, with a single slender stem or, more often, several stems that are up to eight inches (20 cm) thick, in a cluster; generally armed with stiff, black spines in circular rows from the base to the summit. There are occasional specimens with only a few spines. It can typically grow to 20 metres (66 ft) or taller . The leaves are pinnate, 3 metres (9.8 ft) long on a 1 metre (3.3 ft) long petiole. The fruit is a drupe with edible pulp surrounding the single seed, 4–6 cm long and 3–5 cm broad. The rind (epicarp) of the fruit can be red, yellow, or orange when the fruit is ripe, depending on the variety of the palm……...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Plants succeed in moist tropical climates with heavy rainfall and poor soils. They grow in lowland areas below 800 metres, where temperatures never fall below 10°c, the average annual rainfall is 1,500mm or more and the driest month has 25mm or more rain. They can withstand relatively hot dry seasons of 3 – 4 months. Requires a fertile, moist, but well-drained soil, a humid atmosphere and some protection from strong sun. Seedlings develop very slowly under forest shade conditions, and mature plants require full sunlight for optimal production of flowers, fruits and offshoots. Plants are most productive when grown on relatively deep, fertile, well-drained soils, clay soils, and highly eroded laterites with 50% aluminium-saturated, acid soil

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Edible Uses:…….CLICK & SEE
Edible portion: Fruit, Flower shoots, Cabbage, Palm heart, Vegetable. Fruit – cooked. An acquired taste, mealy and nutty in flavour. The flavour is variable, ranging from bland to strong. Inedible raw, it is boiled in salt water for 30 – 60 minutes, when it becomes floury-textured, oily and pleasant tasting with good nutritious qualities. The fruit is always cooked, because of the presence of an alkaloid, pupunhadine. The fruit is highly nutritious, being very rich in carbohydrate and protein. The fruits are also ground into a flour for baking bread, cakes etc. The ovoid fruit is about 6cm long. The fruit palm is an energy-rich source of carbohydrates and oil; the pulp contains all the essential amino acids and is an excellent source of quality protein. The mesocarp is rich in beta-carotene. It is regarded as probably the most nutritionally balanced of tropical fruits; has twice the protein content of the banana and can produce more carbohydrate per ha than maize. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. It is called oil of macanilla. The mesocarp oil has a relatively high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, notably oleic acid, and contains no cholesterol. It is used for cooking. Seed – eaten raw or made into a meal to flavour drinks. Consumed as nuts. A salt substitute is made by cooking the spadix. The cooked male flowers are used as a condiment. The apical bud is cooked and eaten as a vegetable. A delicacy, in some areas it is eaten as a salad. Fresh, dried and canned palmito is being marketed for use in salads, soups and fillings and as roasted chips. Eating the bud effectively kills the trunk since it is unable to produce side shoots. Some plants in this species form multi-trunks and so harvesting the apical bud will only kill one stem, not the plant. An important food in South America.

Medicinal Uses:
The oil from the seeds is used as a rub to ease rheumatic pains. The fruit are high in Vitamin A. The red variety has 2.76 mg of carotene while the yellow variety has 0.835 mg.

Other Uses:
Other uses rating: High (4/5). Other Uses An oil is obtained from the seed. This species may turn out to be a better economic option than most other American oil palms. Oil levels of up to 62% of the dry weight have been reported, and there are reports that a large pot of boiling fruit can produce 2-3 kg of oil. The oil separates easily when the fruits are cooked. As with other palms, it is a potential source of lauric oils. The seed is rich in saturated fatty acids, and could be used to manufacture cosmetics and soap. The leaves yield thatch for houses and basket materials. The spines of the plant are used in tattooing. (Probably as needles.) The leaves provide a green dye for colouring fabrics. The roots provide a vermicide. The whole plant, including the leaf and stem parts, produces a valuable fibre for manufacturing paper. Cellulose may be produced for cellophane paper and rayon. Wood – exceptionally hard and strong, it has many uses. Used in construction. It is a durable material for bows, arrows, fishing poles, harpoons and carvings. The Amerindians use the wood for flooring and panelling their houses and also fashion long spines into needles. In rural Amazonia, the stem is valued for parquet, furniture, carvings and home construction

Known Hazards:
The stems are usually heavily armed with rings of very sharp, black spines about 5 cm long.(Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



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