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Acrocomia aculeata - Macaw palm


Native to:



Tropical Americas, from southern Mexico to Paraguay and northern Argentina.

Barren lands, semi deciduous open forests .0-1300 meters above sea level. 15 meter tall palm.

Acrocomia aculeata - Macaw palm

Ecological value:

Attracts pollinating insects. Slow growing, fairly fire tolerant. Prefers fertile soil. In the wild, Acrocomia aculeata is regarded an indicator species of fertile soil. Consumed by macaws.

Material uses:

Wood, moderately hard and heavy, very durable. Used in construction of beams. Endocarp around seed used to carve jewelry and buttons. High quality oil from kernal and pulp of fruit, used in soap. for biodiesel, soap. Good quality fiber from leaves used for twine & cordage.

Edible uses:

Starch from pith of trunk and wood. Pith can be fermented into an alcoholic drink. Fruit cooked but eaten in times of scarcity. Seed roasted. Oil from seed (high quality), young leaves cooked.

Medicinal use:

Roots used to treat a variety of ailments.

Other details:

Oil used for biodiesel. Found on barren islands. Aroma is a genus of palms distributed in the tropical Americas. Fruits in this genus come in a variety of colors from brown, organdy and yellow.


Research: Hyunjung Kim/Christine Facella


“Acrocomia Aculeata (Jacq.) Lodd. Ex R.Keith | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 30, 2023.
“Acrocomia Aculeata - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 30, 2023.
Lorenzi. H., ‘Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition’, Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil, 2002
Bates, H. W. 'The naturalist on the River Amazons’. London: J. Murray. Pages 79–80, 1864
“Acrocomia.” 2023. Wikipedia. November 15, 2023.
Image source: Carla Antonini

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