Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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pejibaye Bactris gasipaes (syn Guilielma gasipaes), also known as pupunha or peach palm, grows wild in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. It was already being cultivated and distributed by Indians in prehistoric times. In C. America its presence is most noticeable in Costa Rica, where almost every Indian dwelling has a patch.

The palm reaches a height of 13 m (43'). The fruits grow in clusters of 50 to 300, and look like small peaches. As it ripens the fruit changes colour from yellow or orange to red or purple when fully ripe. The flesh usually contains a small seed, although some cultivated varieties are seedless. Both the fruit and the seed are edible.