ISPN - Instituto Sociedade, População e Natureza


Moriche palm (Buriti) – The palm tree with one thousand uses

Buriti. Fotos: Fernando Tatagiba
Palm tree and moriche palm fruit. Photos: Fernando Tatagiba

The moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa) is one of the most unique palm trees in Brazil. It is a common species in the Cerrado and an infallible indicator of the existence of water. Because the Cerrado is rich in water, the moriche palms are everywhere, framing the veredas, streams and waterfalls, embedded in springs and swamps. That relationship with water is not in vain.

Fruto do buriti. Foto: Fernando Tatagiba
The moriche palm fruit. Photo: Fernando Tatagiba

When ripe, fruit often falls into streams and is transported by the water, helping to disperse the species throughout the region. This fruit also provides good nourishment for agoutis, capybaras, Brazilian tapirs and macaws, all of which cooperate in spreading the seeds. In nature, everything works by means of mutual cooperation. The moriche palm also embellishes the Cerrado’s landscape and is a source of inspiration in literature, poetry, music and visual arts.

Pumped with Vitamins

Polpa de buriti. Foto: Jaime Gesisky
Pulp of the moriche palm (buriti). Photo: Jaime Gesisky

The moriche palm is also very generous to Mankind. Its fruit is a privileged source of nourishment. Rich in vitamin A, B and C, it also has calcium, iron and proteins. Usually eaten raw, the moriche palm fruit can also be transformed into jams, juices, liqueurs and desserts of unique taste.

Óleo de buriti. Foto: Isabel Schimidt
Moriche palm oil. Photo: Isabel Schimidt

The oil extracted from the fruit (photo) has medicinal value for the traditional peoples in the Cerrado, who use it as vermicides, for its healing powers and as a natural energetic. The moriche palm’s substances also give color, scent and quality to several beauty products such as creams, shampoos, sunscreen and soaps.

Artesanato de buriti. Foto:Jaime Gesisky
Moriche palm (buriti) handicraft. Photo: Jaime Gesisky

The leaves have fibers that are used in handicrafts like bags, carpets, tablecloths, toys and bijous (photo). The stems are used to make furniture. In addition to being light, the furniture made from the moriche palm is resistant and very beautiful.

Palha de buriti. Foto: Isabel Schimidt
Moriche palm straw. Photo: Isabel Schimidt

The young leaves also produce a very thin fiber, known as moriche “silk”, used by handcrafters in golden grass crafts. The moriche palm is fully used. Even its name, loaned to a thousand different places, companies and even boats take the palm tree’s fame everywhere.

Barco Buriti I. Foto: Jaime Gesisky
Buriti I boat. Photo: Jaime Gesisky


TFCA - Tropical Forest Conservation ActFundo AmazôniaPNUD - Programa das Naes Unidas para o DesenvolvimentoGEF
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