Peach Palm facts

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Peach Palm Quick Facts
Name: Peach Palm
Scientific Name: Bactris gasipaes
Origin Native to the tropical forests of the South and Central America
Colors Shiny orange, red or yellow
Shapes Ovoid, oblate, cylindrical or conical, 2–7 cm by 2–6 cm
Peach palm is a species of palm inherent to tropical forests of South and Central America and also available in other countries such as Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and the Hawaiian Islands. It is often cultivated by smallholders in agroforestry systems of more rarely in monoculture. Its common names are peach palm in English and chontaduro in Spanish.  As a long lived perennial plant, it is productive for 50 to 75 years on average. Fruits are edible as well as nutrition but should be cooked for 30 minutes to five hours. It benefits the animals in wild. Also they are cultivated for heart of palm and the trunk makes a valuable timber.

Plant description

Peach palm is a multi-stemmed, armed and monoecious palm having extensive but adventitious root system that reaches the height of 6 to 20 meters. Stems are unbranched, straight and cylindrical and 12 to 26 cm in diameter having internodes covered with circular rows of dark spines and alternates with nodes without spines. Suckers form from basal axillary buds and vary in number from 1 to 12. Crown has 10 to 30 pinnate leaves and petiole is spiny and petiole sheath is 50 to 180 cm long and rachis is 180 to 400 cm long. Pinnate leaves are 2.5 to 3.6 meters long having many linear, pointed and bifurcated leaflets about 60 to 115 cm long by 3 to 6 cm wide. It is dark green above and pale beneath and is spiny on veins on both surfaces and margins. An inflorescence arises from axils of leaves and is covered with two spathes, short, the outer deltoid, hard and thick. Flowers (male) are cream-light yellow about 2-6 mm long and 2-6 mm wide. Female flowers are rarely green or yellow and about 3-13 mm long and 4-12 mm wide. Flowers are followed by a drupe usually shiny orange, red or yellow and have superficial striations and are formed in axillary clusters in crown at the top of the trunk. Fruits are oblate, ovoid, cylindrical or conical about 2-7 cm by 2-6 cm, leathery and three pointed calyx. Single stem bears five or six clusters at a time. Endocarp is elliptic, ovoid and oblong to cuneiform about 1-4 cm long by 1-2 cm wide and has three pores. Seeds are single, conical, 2 cm long having hard, thin shell and white, oily, coconut flavored kernel.

Leaves

Leaves are pinnate, linear, pointed and 8 to 12 ft long (2.4–3.7 m) long. Leaflets are 1 ¼-inch-wide (3.1-cm). Leaf veins are covered with short spines and are green to dark green.

Inflorescence (Flowers)

Inflorescence forms from leaf axils and is enclosed in a spathe and comprises of racemes 8 to 12 inches long. Racemes has yellowish male and female flowers and terminal flowers are all male. Flowers are pollinated by insects and cross pollinations improve the fruit.

Fruit

Fruit is a drupe and yellow to orange to scarlet or brownish which turns purplish when ripened fully. Fruits may be round or oval about 1 to 2 inches in diameter having 3-pointed calyx at the stem end. The peel is thin and pulp is yellow to light orange, dry, sweet and mealy. The fruit has one seed enclosed in a thin endocarp. Some fruit may be seedless.

Heart of Palm

The central white and soft core young stems are edible. Young suckers are 3 to 4 feet high and are cut at their bases. Leaves and outer leaf stems are removed till the central core is exposed. Then the core is cut loose and harvested for consumption.

Health Benefits of Peach palm

  1. Offers energy

Peach palm has high content of starch which makes it effective for providing good energy. Peach palm is an attractive fruit to promote their capabilities. The energy it offers helps to meet their needs.

  1. Growth

It is helpful for those in growth periods. Children with actively growing require a supply of energy for enhancing metabolism and consumption of peach palm is an effective to get some calories. It has significant amount of folate, a vitamin that assist prospective moms prevent the child against neural tube defects such as anencephaly.

  1. Recovery after illness

An intake of peach palm assists speed up recovery after debilitating illness and even after surgical operations. It also replenishes lost energy in no time. Consult the doctor of health practitioner for use.

  1. Supports vision

Consume peach palm to add strength to the vision. It has vision strengthening ability which attributes rich content of Vitamin A and provides more than 1490% of daily recommended allowance for this vitamin in a serving of 100 grams. This vitamin is essential to relieve dryness of eye and its deficiency results to night blindness.

  1. Enhance immunity

Peach palm has high content of Vitamin A and significant amounts of Vitamin C as well as other antioxidants that helps to boost the immune system of the body. It helps to stimulate production of white blood cells and protects body from invading microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria.

  1. Cancer prevention

Peach palm has antioxidants that help in preventing cancer by interrupting the free radical activities which results to cancerous growth when associated with other body cells.

  1. Manages diabetes

Peach palm has significant amount of fiber that helps diabetic patients by preventing spike in blood sugar level and also stimulates insulin secretion. It intercepts sugar molecules during digestion and releases them slowly into blood stream. The sugar content in blood remains fairly stable and helps to limit insulin in type 2 diabetic patients.

  1. Heart health

Fiber is a crucial non-nutritive component found in foods. It offers numerous health benefits. The activity helps to protect the heart by absorbing excess cholesterol from the body. The presence of excess cholesterol clumps in arteries and blocks the flow of blood to vital organs such as brain and heart which could result to stroke and heart attack.

  1. Skin health

Peach palm has high content of Vitamin C and Vitamin A and the healthy balance of fluid helps to maintain skin health. These vitamins assist re-growth of new skin cells. It also protects the skin cells in the body. Potassium ensures the one to have normal water balance in the body. The element facilitates the exchange of fluid to cells that makes it function at optimal levels.    

  1. Prevent Atherosclerosis

Peach palm fruit lowers the possibility of atherosclerosis. It stimulates blood stream to eliminate LDL and triglycerides. Moreover, it promotes the number of HDL inside the blood. It prevents the effect of atherosclerosis and stroke disease.

Medicinal uses

Use the seeds oil as a rub in order to ease rheumatic pains.

Culinary uses

  • Peach palm is used as a staple food in Central and South America.
  • Fruits are boiled in water or salted water or roasted and the cooked mesocarp is consumed.
  • Mash the cooked mesocarp and ferment for 1 to 2 days then add water to fermented mash for making drink for breakfast and other times.
  • Preserve the whole fruits dried or smoked.
  • In Columbia, cooked mesocarp is combined with milk, several condiments and sugar for preparing commercial beverage.
  • Eat the cooked fruit with salt or honey and use it for making compotes and jellies.
  • Make chips from the fruit.
  • Use the flour derived from the pulp for making soups, noodles, pastas, tortillas, infant formula, cakes and other confectionery.
  • Use the cooked palm heart in salads and vegetables in various recipes.

References:

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Bactris+gasipaes

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506706#null

https://foodsanddiseases.com/peach-palm-health-benefits-and-properties/

https://www.fruitsinfo.com/peach-palm.php

https://www.homenaturalcures.com/peach-palm-health-benefits/

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