Other Names: Moriche, Mauriti, Ita, Canangucho, "Tree-of-Life"
Related To: [Arecaceae] Assai, Coconut, Salak
Main Uses: Fruit.
Growth Rate: Fast when young, but growth slows with age.
Mature Height/Spread: Palm tree with upright costapalmate leaves;
capable of reaching 80.'
Flowering/Pollination: A diecious palm, a male is needed to
pollinate female trees.
Tolerance: Unknown salt tolerance. Moderate drought tolerance.
Soil/Nutrition: It is best to think of this species as
semi-aquatic, considering it's natural habitat of permanently or
seasonally flooded soils. It likes a sandy rich acidic soil kept
constantly moist. It is found naturally growing in soft, often muddy
soils in wetlands and along the banks of rivers. It is adaptable and
will grow on non-aquatic soils provided they are fertile and
Light: Shade for juvenile palms, full sun for adult trees.
Wind: Sturdy tree with dense wood and thick leaves.
Temperature: Minimum temperature unknown. It is likely this is a
strictly tropical species, but it may possess the capacity to endure
brief frosts, allowing it to be grown in the warm subtropics.
Bearing Age: 7-10 years from seed.
Fruit: Small fruit, with reptilian snakelike scaled skin, and a
rich orange, oily flesh used in various food preparations. The fruit
has the vague taste of an apple, according to some. A single bunch
of the fruit can weigh more than 100 lbs. The mesocarp of the fruit
(edible portion) is thick, making this a substantial food source.
History/Origin: Native to central Brazil, Peru, Suriname, Costa
Rica, Venezuela and Panama; wherever the wetland environs are
conducive to it's growth. Throughout the Amazon basin it is a common
floodland and wetland palm species which grows by the millions,
often to the exclusion of other species.
Buriti is a very important rainforest crop, that has become
essential to human life in the regions in which it grows. All parts
of the tree are utilized in various ways, but it is the fruit that
enjoys the most widespread commerce. In Iquitos, Peru, a quantity in
excess of 20 tons of this fruit may be sold in a single day.
Buriti also has the distinct honor of being the very first
Amazonian palm tree described by science, in 1781 by Linnaeus.
Propagation: Exclusively by seed.
Container Culture: Possible when young. It makes an excellent
container specimen for the first 4-5 years of it's life.
Medicinal Uses: Oil and oily seeds are known to be soothing to
Preparation / Food: Buriti fruits can be eaten raw, but are just
as often cooked. They are dried and made into flour, which is used
to make breads. They are also fermented and made into an esteemed
To prepare buriti fruits for making a fruit shake, soak them in
water for 24 hours, at which point the skin flakes off easily, and
the flesh becomes soft. The edible portion can then be removed with
some ease and blended into drinks, or used in ice creams,