This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(mythological name). Palmaceae, tribe Areceae. Slender erect spineless palms, with solitary or fasciculate ringed caudices, and grown chiefly for their graceful habit and feathery pinnate foliage.
Leaves terminal, equally pinnatisect; segments narrowly linear-lanceolate, long, and gradually acuminate or ensiform, membranaceous, plicate, the thickened margins recurved at the base; rachis and petiole 3-sided toward the base, convex on the back, concave above; petiole elongated; sheath very long, cylindrical, entire: spadix paniculately branched: rachis elongated: branches slender, gradually shortening above, usually scaly, thick at the base, erect-spreading in fi.: spathes 2, coriaceous or membranaceous, lanceolate, the lower one shorter, split at the apex, dorsally 2-keeled, the upper one symmetrical, split down the ventral side: bracts bordering the furrows; bractlets ovate-acute: flowers small, white, sessile in the furrows of the spadix: fruit like a pea, purple. - Species about 8. tropical Amer, and W. Indies. G.C.II. 24:586.
Three species of Euterpe are commonly found in cultivation, namely: E. edulis, E. montana and E. oleracea. These are found under varying conditions in Central and South America and the West Indies, and all three species are valuable as food-producers to the natives of those countries. E. edulis grows in great quantities in the lowlands of Brazil, where it is known as the assai palm, owing to the fact that its seeds are macerated in water, and by this means is produced a beverage known as assai. E. oleracea is the well-known cabbage palm of the West Indies, growing in the lowlands near the coast, while E. montana is the mountain cabbage palm, and is frequently found at considerable altitudes in the same islands, and consequently does not attain the great dimensions of E. oleracea. - The euter-pes do not present any special cultural difficulties, being free-rooting and rapid-growing palms; a night temperature of 65° F., and abundant moisture are among their chief requirements. A good turfy loam, with the addition of about one-fifth of stable manure while in the compost heap, provides a suitable soil. From their habit of forming a tall slender stem without suckering from the base, the euterpes are liable to become rather leggy specimens.
When under cultivation, and for trade purposes, it is advisable to group three or four of the young plants together, thus producing a more bushy specimen. White scale is one of the worst pests to which these palms are subject, and soon ruins the foliage unless care is taken. Seeds germinate in a few weeks if sown in a warm greenhouse, and the young plants make better progress when moderately shaded. (W. H. Taplin.)
Mart. Para Palm. Assai Palm. stem 60-90 ft. high, 8 in. thick, flexuous: leaves 10-15, spreading; the leaflets often pendulous; sheaths 3-4 1/2 ft.; petiole 1 1/2 ft.; blade 6-9 ft.; segments linear, spreading, deflexed, 60-80 on each side, densely crowded, 28-36 in. long, 3/4-l in. wide: spadix about 2-3 ft. long, bearing numerous rather inconspicuous flowers Brazil.
Mart. Cabbage Palm. stem 60-100 ft., scarcely 1 ft. diam. at base, attenuate above, flexuous: leaves arcuate-spreading, 4-6 ft. long, the apex more or less deflexed; segments pendent, linear-lanceolate, the upper 2 ft. long, 1 in. wide, many-nerved. Brazil. See Oreodoxa.
R. Graham. stem 10 ft. high, swollen at the base, ringed: leaves 9 ft. long, elliptical-obovate; segments lanceolate, entire, glabrous, alternate; petiole 2 ft. long, scaly beneath, unarmed; rachis plano-convex below, subtriangular toward the apex: spadices several on the trunk at one time, axillary, much branched; flowers numerous, white. Grenada. B.M. 3874. - Intro, into Botanic Garden at Edinburgh in 1815.
Jared G. Smith.