Mostly when you think of palms, you picture then growing in a desert or in places where it is dry and rainfall is scarce. This is not always the case. Some palms such as acai thrive in wet environments such as rainforests. They need a lot of rainfall on order to survive. Acai are flowering plants and like date palms, each individual plant is either a male or a female. Both male and female plants need to be on each others vicinity in order for fertilization to occur, so that fruits may be produced. Isolated acai palms do not produce fruits for that reason. Most acai palms are sterile and do not reproduce. Only a few are fertile and produce fruits. The fruit of the acai palm is a purple coloured berry that has many small seeds numbering in the hundreds. The seeds themselves are edible and have many essential oils that are an invaluable spice of vitamin D.
Taxonomically speaking acai palms are related to banana palms despite their phenotype bearing resemblance to date palms. Their leaves are large dry and compounded. They are an excellent fuel source and a cheap one too. Dead acai stalks are also used as fuel and are especially important for the poor communities that depend upon them. There are historical instances of acai in Melbourne being used as fuel as long ago as a thousand years ago. Prehistoric acai palms were very different from the ones that are found today. The plant has undergone drastic changes in shape, size and productivity of fruits.
Most acai palms are better suited to tropical environments where it rains a lot and the weather is dry. Even though the palms themselves may grow in temperate regions, their productivity is severely affected. They bear less fruit in colder climates and this makes them less useful in such places. Their fruit is not of a seasonal nature, unlike many other tropical palms but is produced all year round. The rate of production however soars in the summer when it is hot and dry. Acai palms are an important cash crop in addition to being a good crop. It’s fibres are very strong and are comparable to jute fibres when it comes to elasticity and strength. They are also light in weight and can be used for a variety of purposes. They are used to built ropes and other construction equipment. The stalks are also used for construction purposes and can be used for bridges and other structures. One of the many benefits of the acai palm is the rate with which it grows. Acai palms mature very quickly and this makes them ideal for both to bet production and agricultural purposes. They can grow to be as tall as thirty feet in a mere five years, which is remarkable.