The Euterpe

Reading of the book "The Atlantic Forest of South America" 1, from the Chapter #34, "Harvesting and Conservation of Heart Palm", which deals with the heart of palm of the Euterpe edulis, I learned about the possibility of hybridization through cross-pollination between Euterpe edulis, the "jussara" palm of the Atlantic Forest, and the Euterpe oleracea, the "acai" of the Amazon.

Althought I knew they were similar, I could not think of hybridizing because they are endemic of ecosystems distinct and very far apart. So, the hibridizing occurs in artificial plantations, intentionally or not.
Even though their similarity, these two species were explored very differently by the populations of their ecosystems, the peoples of the Amazon, said "primitives", and the peoples of the Atlantic Forest region, said "developed".  The latter almost led the species to extinction [2].
At present, some native peoples of southern and southeastern Brazil are allowed to pick up palm "jussara" in the Atlantic Forest, but the collection is also done illegally, hastily, with processing done in the forest itself, having occurred cases of botulism due to lack of hygiene.
I remember that in my childhood my mother bought the palm heart jussara "in natura" and cooked it at home (just boiled in water and salt), we were not at risk, consumption was not great and there was no awareness of sustainability.
Due to the extinction risk of Euterpe edulis, an alternative palmetto has been offered on the market, from the "pupunha" palm, the Bactris gasipaes, with good acceptance.
The "acai" product has also been offered in the region of the Atlantic Forest, but produced from the "jussara" palm tree, taking advantage of the "acai" fame, without jeopardizing the sustainability of the "jussara".
The juice of the "acai" needs to be kept refrigerated, frozen, a very high cost to bring the Amazonian "acai" to the region of the Atlantic Forest, but it is exported to the United States and Italy.

To access the observations, "explore" filtering for the person's name "nelson_wisnik" and the Description/tags "E_edulis" or "E_oleracea". You are welcome.

Figure caption: acai plantation in the Marajo archipelago

[1] The Atlantic Forest of South America *
      Biodiversity Status, Threats, and Outlook
      Galindo-Leal, C. and de Gusmão Camara, I. - Editors
      Center for Applied Biodiversity Science
      (c) Conservation International, 2003
      ISBN 1-55963-988-1 / ISBN 1-55963-989-X

(*) This book was given to me by Dr. Carlos Galindo-Leal, to whom I thank very much


Posted by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik, February 23, 2019 00:41


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