Grugru Palm, Acrocomia aculeata

The Grugru Palm (Acrocomia aculeata) also known as Macaúba Palm, Coyol Palm, and Macaw Palm, is a species of palm native to the tropical regions of the Americas. It is found from southern Mexico and the Caribbean south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Its habitat is a wide variety of climates and situations. It is the only species in the genus Acrocomia.

The Grugru Palm grows to between 49 and 66 feet tall. The trunk is up to 20 inches in diameter. It is characterized by many slender, black, razor-sharp 4 inch long spines jutting out from the trunk. The leaves are pinnate, 10 to 13 feet long, with numerous slender, 20 to 40 inch long leaflets. The stem of the leaves are also covered in spines. The flowers are small, produced on a large branch 5 feet long. The fruit is yellow-green and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The fruit contains a single, dark brown seed. The seed is very tough to break open. The inside of the seed has a dry white filling that has a slight sweet taste when eaten.

It has been suggested that grugru nut, which come in mass numbers from each tree, can be used in the manufacture of
biodiesel. The grugru nut, while very hard, can be sliced into thin circles to be sanded and worn as rings. The trunk of the palm can also be ‘milked’ to yield a fermented alcoholic beverage known as coyol wine.

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