|A tree at the Lauro Sodré Palace in Brazil|
The açaí palm (//, Portuguese: [asaˈi] (listen), from Nheengatu asai), Euterpe oleracea, is a species of palm tree (Arecaceae) cultivated for its fruit (açaí berries, or simply açaí), hearts of palm (a vegetable), leaves, and trunk wood. Global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in the 21st century, and the tree is cultivated for that purpose primarily.
The species is native to Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, mainly in swamps and floodplains. Açaí palms are tall, slender trees growing to more than 25 m (82 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves up to 3 m (9.8 ft) long. The fruit is small, round, and black-purple in color. 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.
- açai, açaí
From Brazilian Portuguese açaí, from Old Tupi.
- (UK) IPA(key): /əˈsaɪ.iː/, /ˌæ.saɪˈiː/
- (US) IPA(key): /əˈsaɪ.i/, /ɑ.sɑˈi/
acai (plural acais)
- Any of several South American palms, of the genus Euterpe, having a dark purple drupe.
- The fruit of these trees, harvested for its juice.