Acrocomia aculeata, the sole species in the genus Acrocomia, is a species of palm native to tropical regions of the Americas, from southern Mexico and the Caribbean south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Common names include Grugru Palm, Macaúba Palm, Coyol Palm, and Macaw Palm; synonyms include A. lasiospatha, A. sclerocarpa, A. totai, and A. vinifera.
It grows to 15-20 m tall, with a trunk up to 50 cm diameter, characterized by numerous slender, black, viciously sharp 10 cm long spines jutting out from the trunk. The leaves
are pinnate, 3-4 m long, with numerous slender, 50-100 cm long leaflets. The flowers
are small, produced on a large branched inflorescence
1.5 m long. The fruit
is a yellowish-green drupe 2.5-5 cm in diameter, containing a single, dark brown, nutlike seed 2-3 cm diameter, which is very tough to break. The inside is a dry white filling that has a vaguely sweet taste when eaten.
The plants inhabit a wide variety of climates and situations; in Paraguay
, for example, where it is ubiquitous, it is called the coco paraguayo
(Paraguayan coconut), as it is much less common in the rest of the world. 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