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Bactris.

Bactris gasipaes H. B. & K. Palmae. Peach Palm.

Venezuela. On the Amazon, says Bates, this plant does not grow wild but has been cultivated from time immemorial by the Indians. The fruit is dry and mealy and may be compared in taste to a mixture of chestnuts and cheese. Bunches of sterile or seedless fruit sometimes occur at Ega and at Para. It is one of the principal articles of food at Ega when in season and is boiled and eaten with treacle and salt. Spencer compares the taste of the mealy pericarp, when cooked, to a mixture of potato and chestnut but says it is superior to either. Seemann says in most instances the seed is abortive, the whole fruit being a farinaceous mass. Humboldt says every cluster contains from 50 to 80 fruits, yellow like apples but purpling as they ripen, two or three inches in diameter, and generally without a kernel; the farinaceous portion is as yellow as the yolk of an egg, slightly saccharine and exceedingly nutritious. He found it cultivated in abundance along the upper Orinoco. In Trinidad, the peach palm is said to be very prolific, bearing two crops a year, at one season the fruit all seedless and another season bearing seeds. The seedless fruits are highly appreciated by natives of all classes.

Bactris major Jacq. Prickly Palm.

West Indies. The fruit is the size of an egg with a succulent, purple coat from which wine may be made. The nut is large, with an oblong kernel and is sold in the markets under the name of cocorotes.

Bactris maraja Mart. Maraja Palm.

Brazil. This palm has a fruit of a pleasant, acid flavor from which a vinous beverage is prepared.

Bactris minor Jacq. Prickly Pole. Tobago Cane.

Jamaica. The fruit is dark purple, the size of a cherry and contains an acid juice which Jacquin says is made into a sort of wine. The fruit is edible but not pleasant.


Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.



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