Mauritia flexuosa

Synonymy: Unknown Distribution: South America
Common names: Moriche palm Conservation status: Unknown

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Juvenile

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Seedling

The buriti palm grows throughout central Brazil and the southern Amazon basin. It is an elegant tree whose trunk can reach up to 35 meters (110 feet) in height. The leaves are large and form a rounded crown. The flowers are yellowish, and appear from December to April. The fruit, which grows from December to June, is a chestnut color and is covered with shiny scales. The yellow flesh covers a hard, oval, edible nut. The buriti grows in areas where water is abundant, and its natural habitat is along the water margins and marshes, where the soil is soft. The water carries the seeds and is the normal medium of propagation for the buriti palm. The buriti is put to various uses, including the production of a drink known as 'buriti wine'. An oil high in vitamin A is extracted from the pulp and is frequently used to treat burns, because of its soothing qualities and its ability to promote the formation of scar tissue. The pulp is also widely used in the production of juice, jam, liqueurs and other exotic drinks with a high vitamin C content. 

(Description modified from the Dutch site on Brazilian fruits, http://www.brasilien.dk/hovedside/links/palmer/guarana/guarana01.htm)

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Top photo courtesy and copyright 1998, Mike Dahme; taken at Flecker Botanic Garden, Cairns, Australia. Bottom photo copyright 1998, Jody Haynes; personal collection.

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