| Oenocarpus (oh-eh-no-KAR-puhs) |
French Guiana. Photo by Pierre-Olivier ALBANO.
Habitat and DistributionBrazil North, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.
Turu is a thin solitary palm, stem to 30 cm in diameter and up to 18 m tall, with drooping leaflets. It has dark red to purple, globose fruits, indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, with a stem 8 - 12 inches in diameter and growing up to 50' tall. It has globose fruits, dark red to purple. The fruit is made into a drink, after cooking and removing of the skin, the fruit also yields a moisturizing and emollient oil. Editing by edric.
Full sun / partial shade and sandy soils, dry soil but water well. Plant in frost free areas. Fast growing. The tree grows in well-drained sandy soils of the Amazon basin. Form optimal germination, seeds should be planted at a depth of 2 cm in sand and vermiculite, and the temperature kept around 30°C. Seeds should be kept moist, rather than wet. Cold Hardiness Zone: 9b
Comments and Curiosities
The city of Bacabal in Maranhão was so called because of the large amount of existing Bacaba fruit there.
Uses: A beverage ("wine") is also made from the fruits of the chiquichique (Leopoldinia piassaba), the moriche or canangucha (Mauritia minor) the bacaba (Oenocarpus bacaba), and the bacabiña or milpesillo (Oenocarpus minor). Also the fruit juice is used to to make a "milk" or "chicha". The mesocarp is eaten after removing the skin, and being heated in water for a few minutes, this is called "Caguana". Oil is removed the seeds and buds. The seeds and the remains of the macerated pulp are fed to pigs and poultry. Leaves are used for house interiors while trunks provide tough wood suitable for construction. The seeds are used for making bracelets, and necklaces. The juice obtained by grinding the bud of the palm is used as an antidote (neutralizes the effects of scorpion venom and spider). The thick juice is applied on the bite, two or three times a day.
The bacaba, or Açu-bacaba bacaba true (Oenocarpus bacaba) is a palm native to the Amazon. It is distributed throughout the Amazon Basin, most frequently in Amazonas, Para, Acre and Tocantins. It has virgin forest as a habitat of high land. It is also found in the forests of the Pacific in western Colombia. It is a tall-stemmed palm, smooth strain. It can reach up to 20 feet tall and 20 to 25 cm in diameter. The fruit is widely consumed here in Pará, but increasingly difficult to find, due to deforestation.
The phytochemicals in fruits have been shown to be major bioactive compounds with regard to health benefits. Bacaba (Oenocarpus bacaba Mart.) is a native palm fruit from the Brazilian savannah and Amazon rainforest that plays an important role in the diet of rural communities and is also a source of income for poor people.
After the fruit is cooked, the skin removed, the triturated pulp gives the "comou milk", very appreciated as a refreshing drink or for the preparation of sherbets.
Bacaba produces more fruits than any other palm in central Amazonia, averaging around 2500 per bunch. Bunches usually weigh about 3–4 kg, but can weigh up to 10 kg. The fruit is a drupe weighing up to 3.0 grams. Propagation is by seeds that germinate in 60–120 days, with slow growth. Production begins when the tree is 3–4 meters high, after about 6 years. The fruits has a rounded dark red to purple shell and creamy white flesh, rich in oil of a pale yellow color. Bacaba fruit are cooked to prepare a juice which is much sought after by local people, though generally less popular than açaí. Bacaba fruit is agreeable and its flavor is reminiscent of avocado. The fruits are rich in natural phenols, especially in flavonoids and their red color is due to cyanidin hexosides.
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.
Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.